CA denies gov’t bid to reverse dismissal of search warrants vs. journalist, union organizer

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(File photo of journalist Lady Ann Salem)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The Court of Appeals (CA) denied the government's petition for the reversal of an earlier ruling, which upheld the quashing of search warrants against red-tagged journalist Lady Ann Salem and union organizer Rodrigo Esparago.

In a resolution released on Wednesday, the CA 12th Division said it rejected the government's appeal “for utter lack of merit.”

In January, the CA affirmed the order of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC) to dismiss the search warrants against Salem and Esparago, who were arrested in December 2020 allegedly for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The RTC ruled in favor of the two in February 2021, as it declared void the search warrants issued against them.

The Mandaluyong court said authorities seized items that were not listed in the warrants.

It also found substantial inconsistencies and contradictions in the testimonies in the case.

In its appeal, the government maintained that the implementation of the search warrants was proper and in accordance with the law, but the CA ruled otherwise.

"The motion for reconsideration fails to present any new and substantial matter, or any cogent and compelling reason which would justify reconsideration of this Court’s ruling," read the CA decision.

A number of groups earlier denounced the arrest of the two, particularly calling Salem's detention an attempt to silence free press.