Not guilty: Eduardo Serrano should be home for Christmas

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court-Branch 100 yesterday acquitted political prisoner Eduardo Serrano from the charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder. Judge Editha G. Mina-Aguda stated in her decision that, "… in the view of the failure of the People to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, judgement is hereby rendered acquitting accused Rogelio Villanueva @Ka Makling @ Eduardo Serrano of the crime charged." Serrano is among the 20 peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. 

The court’s decision was based on the witnesses’ testimonies, which it said are, “either imagined or trumped-up." 

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the acquittal of Serrano puts into question the many other trumped-up criminal charges against the political prisoners, specifically the NDFP peace consultants who have become victims of the government’s practice of criminalizing political acts. To date, there are 555 political prisoners in jail, all facing similar cases like Serrano. 

In October, the QC RTC Branch 98 Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang ruled that accused Rogelio Villanueva is not the same person as Eduardo Serrano; and Serrano should therefore be immediately released. The Branch 98’s October resolution said Serrano’s arrest and detention for 11 years is an “outright mockery of the basic human rights on due process of law which is enshrined in our Constitution." 

Serrano’s identity and that of Rogelio Villanueva was not considered by the QC-RTC Branch 100 as the “most critical” in coming up with its decision, but “whether the identity of the accused in whatever names he is known, as the assailant was sufficiently established by the prosecution." The prosecution, the Court said, was not able to prove “beyond iota of doubt” that the accused was in any way involved in the crime.

Serrano still faces two more similar trumped-up criminal charges of multiple frustrated murder at the QC RTC Branch 215 and kidnapping at Branch 97.
"We appeal to QC RTC branches 215 and 97 to immediately resolve these cases to bring home Serrano for Christmas," Palabay said as she also warned of the regime’s maneuvers to keep Serrano in jail such as coming out with more trumped-up charges against Serrano, “similar to what the regime did to recently convicted peace consultants Leopoldo Caloza and Emeterio Antalan.”

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