DAVAO DEL NORTE PROSECUTORS JUNK CASES VS LUMAD 7
The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Davao del Norte has dumped the charges slapped against the Lumad 7, who were arrested illegally by the police in Cebu City last March, saying there was insufficient evidence, lack of probable cause, and lack of territorial jurisdiction in pursuing the criminal cases.
With the resolution, the Lumad 7, including volunteer teacher Chad Booc, were released on May 13, 2021 after three months of illegal detention under the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Rei Paulin, national coordinator of Katribu said “the dismissal of the trumped-up charges and the release of the Lumad 7 from illegal detention by the police is a victory of the people, particularly of the Lumad in their struggle for the right to education and self-determination. We laud the Lumad students and their teachers for remaining steadfast in the struggle despite the intensifying state attacks and persecution against the Lumad Bakwit Schools and their communities. This victory is a validation of the Lumad and the peoples’ strength."
“The Lumad’s community effort in establishing the Lumad Schools to provide education to their children and youth is a manifestation and an assertion of their right to self-determination. Teaching and establishing schools for the people is not a criminal or a terrorist act,” Paulin argued.
“The Lumad and all indigenous peoples will persevere in the struggle for justice, right to education, and self-determination. We will continue to resist the attacks and hold Duterte, the military, and the police accountable for all their crimes and atrocities against indigenous peoples and their communities,” he concluded.