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3 companions of nabbed ‘NPA spokesman’ freed

SAN PEDRO CITY –– Human rights group Karapatan in Southern Tagalog (ST) on Tuesday said it would push for the dismissal of the case filed against the three people arrested with alleged New People’s Army (NPA) spokesperson in the region, Jaime Padilla.

The Metropolitan Trial Court of San Juan City branch 58 ordered Rey Rafa, Kayann Trogon, and Jefren Banjawan released after each posted a P36,000-bail for obstruction of justice.

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The three were workers from Southern Tagalog who were only tapped to accompany Padilla to the hospital, Karapatan said without disclosing their home provinces for security reasons.

Padilla, 72, was confined to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City for heart ailment, where the rebel leader was arrested from his hospital room on November 25.

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The police presented a warrant for four counts of murder issued by a court in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

“It is in the interest of Rafa, Trogon, and Banjawan as civilians that Karapatan (ST) pursued and will continue to pursue the absolution of any false accusations against them.”

“Karapatan ST maintains that their willingness to stay with Padilla during his confinement, and their cooperation during his arrest prove that no deliberate obstruction was made,” the group said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Padilla’s legal consultant Kristina Conti said Padilla was transferred from the national police headquarters in Quezon City to a jail in San Jose on November 28.

Conti said Padilla had yet to be arraigned.

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