DOJ dismisses rebellion raps vs UCPB employees carrying P32-M in CDO port

MANILA-- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed rebellion charges filed against employees of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) who were arrested by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for transporting a case containing PHP32.8-million in cash on board a ship in Cagayan de Oro port bound for Cebu last Sunday.

In a seven-page resolution released on Thursday, the Cagayan De Oro prosecutor's office junked for insufficiency of evidence the rebellion charges against the UCPB employees namely Rhodelle A. Nagac and Rolando C. Limbo Jr., teller and operations manager at Velez Branch in Cagayan De Oro City; Leonilo B. Enterina, Reynaldo Puyos and Rolly Cervantes Estribor, all UCPB security guards and Ma. Cecilia Lim, UCPB Velez Branch Manager.

Guided by the time honored doctrine of the presumption of innocence, under our regime even in times of martial law, we cannot exalt order at the expense of liberty, read the resolution.

The allegations of the complainant for the crime of rebellion or acts in furtherance thereof, being insufficient, has no leg to stand on to warrant the finding of probable cause against the respondents, it added.

Nagac, Limbo, Enterina and Puyos were invited by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for questioning. The four were supposed to go on board a Trans Asia Ship bound for Cebu when accosted.

Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said the five should be immediately released from detention after the dismissal of the criminal case filed by the PCG against them.

PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said they respect the findings of prosecutors, who gave weight to the bank's claim that it sanctioned the transportation of the cash.

"Of course on the side of the security forces we are being very careful on the disposition of the money to include possible link with the situation in Mindanao. We have to be vigilant," he said.

The PCG earlier said that the four employees of UCPB were about to board a Trans Asia ship leaving the CDO Port and was headed for the Port of Cebu when intercepted by operatives of its Northern Mindanao District last Sunday.

Authorities had suspected the move to bring the huge amount of money to Cebu may have been connected to the May 23 Marawi siege by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terror group, which prompted President Duterte to declared martial law in Mindanao. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/Stephon Villanueva

Source: Philippines News Agency