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Gov't readies new charges vs 'Bakwit School 7'

By Dempsey Reyes / The Manila Times

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) said it is readying charges against the seven lumads who were cleared for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, human trafficking and child abuse.

The Davao del Norte provincial prosecutor last week dismissed the complaints against the seven individuals for insufficient evidence, lack of probable cause and for being outside the prosecutor's office territorial jurisdiction.

"This is a separate and distinct offense. Separate special offense from the original criminal case," NTF-Elcac spokesman Marlon Bosantog said.

The "Bakwit School 7" were composed of lumad teachers Chad Booc and Roshelle Mae Porcadilla; lumad datu or elders Benito Bay-ao and Segundo Milong; and lumad students Jomar Binag, Esmelito Oribawan and Moddie Mansumoy-at.

The NTF-Elcac, has been accusing the group of being members of the communist armed group New People's Army.

In what authorities described as a "rescue operation" last February 15, the seven were among 26 people arrested for taking lumad minors -- all residents of Talaingod -- from a retreat house inside the University of San Carlos campus in Cebu City.



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