DOJ drops kidnapping rap vs. lawyer in Sagay massacre

MANILA The Department of Justice (DOJ) junked a kidnapping case against a lawyer who assisted the mother of a minor who survived the Sagay massacre in Negros Occidental.

"We find no probable cause to charge Atty. Katherine Panguban of kidnapping and serious illegal detention," Sagay City Acting City Prosecutor Ferdinand O. Fernandez said in a resolution dated June 17 and released to newsmen Friday.

The prosecutor said there is no kidnapping or serious illegal detention as the minor victim, Victor Cabahug, was taken from the custody of his biological father, Vic Pedaso, and given to his mother, Florderliza Cabahug.

The DOJ also faulted Pedaso, who prosecutors pointed out as someone who "filed a missing person report despite knowing that his son was in the custody of his mother."

The justice department said it was Flordeliza who sought the help and assistance of Panguban.

The child, the prosecutor pointed out, freely chose to be with his biological mother.

Government lawyers earlier said they may hold a preliminary investigation hearing next month in Negros Occidental in connection with the Sagay massacre case.

Assistant State Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez noted that none of the respondents appeared on the last scheduled hearing at the DOJ office in Manila.

Fernandez said the respondents had trouble traveling to Manila to attend the preliminary investigation.

Nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) were killed inside Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental on the night of Oct. 20, 2018.

Authorities have filed murder complaints against those suspected to be involved in the massacre, including Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo.

The victims were allegedly enticed to join the NFSW and were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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