The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today ordered the release from custody of Mayor Henry Dano of Lingig, Surigao del Sur, saying it has made “a political decision to suspend the judicial proceedings against the municipal mayor as an affirmative response to his issuance of an apology.” It also said that the release is ordered as well as a “humanitarian consideration to the appeals made by his family and the representations made by well-meaning groups and individuals.”
In a statement, the Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee said that the order is a “unilateral exercise of revolutionary political authority by the CPP as the ruling party of the People’s Democratic Government.”
In announcing the mayor’s release, the CPP said that the People’s Court, who ordered the arrest of Mayor Dano on the strength of the cases filed against him, has correspondingly suspended the legal and judicial processes applied to the mayor. “The legal and judicial proceedings against accused Mayor Dano has been suspended by the People’s Court to correspond to the political decision coursed through the pertinent regional organ of the People’s Democratic Government,” the CPP stated.
The CPP also said that, “However, should he thereafter continue to commit the acts which were the bases for the charges leveled against him and/or should he commit new crimes or that additional evidence and circumstances warrant or supervene, he may again be subjected to arrest and the legal and judicial proceedings shall forthwith resume.”
It further said that the revolutionary movement finds the mayor’s expressions of remorse “as a self-criticism and a constructive desire to be given an opportunity to make amends for and rectify his previous acts for which he was arrested and placed under the judicial custody of the People’s Court.” Prior to his arrest on 6 August 2011, a case was filed against him for building and maintaining a private armed group in connivance with military officers of the 75th Infantry Battalion and in conjunction with the counterrevolutionary intelligence operations of the 4th Infantry Division – Philippine Army – Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Mayor Dano was also charged with specific serious violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, its particular circumstances among others in connivance with the 75th IB-4th ID against victim-peasants of several barangays (villages) in Lingig,
Surigao del Sur and in the adjacent barangays in Boston, Davao Oriental. Dano was likewise charged with particular acts of building a private armed group, murder, intelligence-gathering, harassment, grave threats and coercion as criminal acts, violating the rights and status of the civilian population as provided for in the Bill of Rights in the Guide for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government, the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and of international human rights law.
The Southern Mindanao Regional Committee of the CPP ordered the Merardo Arce Command Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army to carry out the safe and orderly release of Mayor Dano. It was also given the responsibility to carry out his expeditious release from custody to his family through the intercession of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the independent humanitarian mission. But it added that the release procedures shall be subject to the NPA custodial unit’s appraisal of security considerations to ensure the safety of Mayor Dano, his family, the custodial unit, and all those participating in the release. (Press Release)