Text and photo by: Bryan Ezra Gonzales
ROSARIO, BATANGAS – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) here denied on Thursday the application for bail filed by the defense counsel of Maricon Montajes, Rommiel Cañete and Ronilo Baes, also known as the Taysan 3.
The court said the application filed on Dec. 17 requested for bail only after the court has deliberated on an “insufficiency of testimony” and advised the defense to file a formal motion.
The Taysan 3 were charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of explosives, and violation of the firearms ban, which falls under categories P and Q of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code. Baes was also charged with frustrated homicide.
After a short interruption from rotating brownouts in Rosario, the hearing proceeded with Capt. Sangjahn Panding identifying evidences against Cañete. Panding was the team leader of the 743rd Combat Squadron of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), which arrested the three in 2010.
The next hearings were scheduled to be held on Aug.14, Oct. 9, Nov. 19, and Dec. 11.
Defense counsel Atty. Edre Olalia from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said the prosecution has only presented two witnesses so far and the identification of firearms and explosives acquired from the Taysan 3 has yet to be completed.
Olalia also urged students to continue their support for Montajes and other political detainees in the country.
“Napatunayan na ng karanasan na ang labang legal ay hindi sapat para manalo sa mga kaso. Sa katunayan, mas masusi ay yung pakikibaka sa labas ng korte (Experience has proven that legal battles alone are not enough to win a case. Actually, the campaigns outside of the courtroom are more vital to winning the case,” said Olalia.
Montajes, Cañete and Baes were arrested on June 3, 2010 by elements of the 743rd Combat Squadron during a raid conducted in Sitio Tagusan, Barangay Mabayabas, Taysan, Batangas.
The three are currently under the custody of the Batangas Provincial Jail.
Prior to detention, Montajes, then 20, was a sophomore Film and Audio Visual Communication student at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.