NPA leader pleads not guilty to arson

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


THE suspected New People's Army (NPA) leader accused of torching a heavy equipment last January 24 pleaded not guilty to arson charges during his arraignment before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Davao City on Thursday.

Respondent Roberto Castillo, who was assisted by legal counsel Manuel Quibod, pleaded not guilty before RTC Branch 16 Judge Emmanuel Carpio. Carpio set the preliminary conference on October 9.

Castillote, along with unidentified communist rebels, were accused of burning the Game Boom Harvester truck worth around P15 million owned by the Davao Agricultural Ventures Corp. at 6:30 p.m. on January 24.

The Davao City Prosecution Office affirmed the charges against Castillote based on the complaint of the on-duty security guards of the company identified as Arconcel Agton and Charlie Mandante who claimed they saw around 20 communist rebels including Castillote.

The two reported to the incident to their supervisor Ricardo Baniquid who sought assistance from the Baguio police. The truck, however, was completely burned down when investigators responded at the scene.

The presiding judge also scheduled the hearing of his other cases on October 9 which includes the serious illegal detention case involving three Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) members and three murder cases involving a former village chief, a suspected drug dealer and a civilian.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 10, 2014.

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