Warrants vs activists voided 

THE COURT of Appeals (CA) has set aside search warrants against three detained activists, including one whose daughter died in a hospital while she was in jail. 

In a 36-page decision uploaded on the court’s website on Aug. 31, the 12th Division ruled the warrants issued by Quezon City trial court Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert were void. 

All evidence obtained as a result of the warrants were inadmissible in court, Associate Justice Emily San Gaspar-Gito said in the appellate court ruling. 

Reina Mae Nasino Alma Moran and Ram Carlo Bautista were arrested in 2019 for illegal possession of firearms at the office of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) group in Manila. 

In Ms. Nasino’s case, the appellate court cited inconsistencies in the search warrants since three different addresses were used in the forms. 

“With the erroneous addresses that were never clarified, there is but one logical conclusion, i.e., the applicant and his witnesses did not really have personal knowledge of the surrounding facts which would have justified the issuance of the subject search warrants,” it said. “Consequently, the existence of probable cause is doubtful.” 

Meanwhile, support group Kapatid urged the courts to immediately release the activists. 

It cited a trend of dubious warrants being issued against activists, citing a separate case of a Mandaluyong trial court that voided warrants against a journalist and labor organizer who were accused of illegal gun possession. — John Victor D. Ordoñez