Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. “Boying” Remulla lauded the National Prosecution Service (NPS) for securing the conviction of an alleged member of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the “Melito Glor Command” for the crime of Rebellion.
In a 39-page Judgment, the Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 sentenced Dionisio Almonte @ Inol/Noli/Leo to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years and four months of reclusion temporal as maximum.
In the Information, the prosecution alleged that Almonte is among several armed men who participated in attacks against members of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon province in separate dates from November 2005 to 2006.
Among the alleged atrocities committed by Almonte and his group were the following: the bombing of a Globe Cell Site tower located at Brgy. Piis, Lucban, Quezon; the killing of SPO3 Clarito Ilao and the wounding of five other police officers during an encounter; an ambush on members of the PA resulting in the death of Pfc Eric Consulta, Pfc Rey Surada, and Pfc Ruel Abino and the wounding of eight other Army officers; an attack on PA officers resulting in injuries to four Army officers; an ambush on PA officers causing the wounding of two Army officers; and an attack on PA officers causing the death of Ssgt. Ernesto Baniel and the wounding of another PA officer.
Art. 134 of the Revised Penal Code states:
Article 134. Rebellion or insurrection – How committed. – The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.
In the decision, the Court said “the prosecution was able to prove the fact of public uprising and taking arms against the government as the prosecution’s witnesses categorically testified of their experience and encounters with the rebel group, NPA.”
The Court said that the witnesses testified that there was public uprising and taking up of arms on different occasions. They also narrated that during those encounters, the armed men shouted “Mabuhay ang NPA, Mabuhay si Ka Roger, Mabuhay and Kilusan.”
The witnesses also identified Almonte during videoconference hearings as among the NPA members whom they encountered.
The defense of alibi posited by accused Almonte and his wife, Gloria, that they were in Malabon working in a bakery during the period of November 19 to 26, 2005 did not convince the Court.
“The defense of alibi may not prosper if it is established mainly by the accused-appellant himself and his relatives, and not by credible persons,” the Court said.
“Furthermore, for the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus delicti or within its immediate vicinity,” the Court stressed in its decision.
In his statement, Secretary Remulla reiterated his stand against rebellion. He said, “Rebellion and aiding it is a crime. Those who commit the same should suffer its consequences.”