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Saturday, July 13, 2024

RTC rules NPA leader guilty of sedition

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has secured the conviction of a notorious member of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) who led a series of attacks against soldiers and communication facilities in Quezon province in 2005.

In a decision promulgated last May 16, a copy of which was furnished the DOJ, the Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 266 found Maria Salome Crisostomo, also known as Maria Salome Crisostomo Ujano, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rebellion.

The RTC sentenced Ujano to suffer imprisonment of 10 years 17 years and four months for her crime.

Court records showed that on separate incidents from November 19 to 25, 2005 in Quezon province, Ujano and several others identified as officers and members of the CPP-NPA led attacks against government forces, killing and wounding several soldiers, destroying communication sites and various government properties.

During the trial, Ujano claimed she has no connection with the NPA and alleged that from November 19 to 25, 2005, she was nowhere near Quezon province, and that she was at St. Scholastica College on Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila.

 “Evidently, members of the NPA took up arms against the armed forces who act on behalf of the Government. Further, the NPA also shouted “Mabuhay ang CPP-NPA,” “Mabuhay ang Kilusan,” and relayed to the armed forces for them to surrender. Taken altogether, the actions of the NPA members constitute acts of rebellion,” the court ruled.

It also noted that the prosecution witnesses recognized some members of the NPA during the encounter, Ujano, among others, being one of the most wanted CPP-NPA members posted in the bulletin in their camps.

“Positive identification where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over a denial which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence is negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law,” Judge Marivic Vitor ruled.

The RTC declared that the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rebellion.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla lauded the successful prosecution of the case. “I salute the zealousness and perseverance of the DOJ Task Force on Counter-Terrorism and Terrorism Financing led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor (SDSP)  Peter L. Ong and team: Senior Assistant State Prosecutor (SASP) Rodan G. Parrocha, Assistant State Prosecutor (ASP) Eric C. Opriasa, Prosecution Attorneys (PAs) Heger Jasper A. Balderama, Jose Rafael Cruz and Victor G. Dalanao, Jr. for successfully prosecuting the case which led to the conviction of Ujano.”

“We stood united once again in the face of sinister terrorists and conquered this menace by our resilience and unity. We will never back down against such evil who continue to destabilize the government and sow discord and division. This is the very guarantee we can give our country and people,” Remulla stressed.

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