MILITANT leaders Ariel Casilao and Omar Bantayan dropped the charges they filed against three military intelligence agents who disrupted a peaceful rally in 2005 after learning that one of the three accused is suffering from cancer.

In a released statement Thursday, the militant leaders said they filed an affidavit of desistance in a case they filed against M/Sgt. Edgar Diamante, S/Sgt. Antonio Manipis and Rosalina Lanie Alonzo who disrupted a peaceful Bonifacio Day rally five years ago.

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The move stemmed from a plea from Sgt. Manipis' wife whose husband is now suffering from terminal renal cancer and whose family is seeking insurance benefits and additional resources.

Manipis' benefits were said to have been withheld due to the case filed by Casilao and Bantayan.

Last January 5, Manipis and the two others were charged by the Ombudsman for Mindanao for violation of Article 131 of the Revised Penal Code otherwise known as the Interruption of Peaceful Meeting.

It can be recalled that a march rally commemorating the Bonifacio day last November 30, 2005, was disrupted by a commotion caused by the three intelligence agents.

One of the agents fired shots during the rally, which consequently caused panic and commotion among the rallyists.

Casilao said one of the accused, S/Sgt. Antonio Manipis, is presently suffering from renal cancer and is presently confined in V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.

"We decided to withdraw from pursuing the case because we understand the family's predicament. This act of magnanimity on our part, does not, in any way mean that we are refraining from seeking justice for the military's violation of our sacred rights to peaceful assembly," said Casilao.

The joint affidavit of desistance was filed Wednesday by Casilao and Bantayan before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 3. (BOT)