A DAVAO City-based journalist will appeal to the Supreme Court the criminal charges filed against 17 policemen who mistakenly arrested her in 2019 as the Ombudsman downgraded the case to simple neglect of duty and dismissed the others.
“Simple neglect of duty, as they call it, now excuses command responsibility and accountability,” journalist Fidelina Margarita A. Valle said in a press briefing on Thursday, expressing her dismay over the Ombudsman’s decision.
In its Aug. 2020 decision, the Ombudsman dismissed the criminal charges against 15 of the 17 policemen, and charged two with administrative sanctions for simple neglect of duty subject to a three-month suspension without pay.
In June 2021, it again denied Ms. Valle’s motion for reconsideration, stating that she failed to present newly discovered evidence or proof of the Ombudsman’s grave error in its 2020 decision.
The Ombudsman also denied the motion for reconsideration of the two policemen who claimed that their right to due process was violated.
Ms. Valle was arrested in 2019 as police mistook her for Elsa Renton, an alleged Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) leader.
Ms. Valle’s lawyer, Katherine A. Panguban, said they will also raise in the Supreme Court petition the fact that the policemen still insisted and tagged Ms. Valle as a member of the CPPA-NPA in their own motion for reconsideration.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chairman Jonathan de Santos said he “hopes this is the last of such cases” and called on law enforcement agents to be more careful with their actions. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago