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Labor leader Dennise Velasco on being released from jail. (PHOTO THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF LAWYER KATHY PANGUBAN)

MANILA, Philippines —  Labor leader Dennise Velasco was finally set free on Tuesday after a Quezon City Regional Trial Court dismissed an illegal firearms case filed against him.

Velasco was among the seven human rights activists arrested in December 2020 on what the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) called “fabricated charges.”

“Our client is now free! Trade unionist Dennise Velasco of #HRDay7 walks free after 14 months of unjust imprisonment on fabricated charges stemming from a void search warrant from Quezon City Executive Judge Villavert,” said lawyer Kathy Panguban in a Facebook update.

Our client is now free!Trade unionist Dennise Velasco of #HRDay7 walks free after 14 months of unjust imprisonment on…

Posted by Kathy Panguban on Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Velasco’s case — for violating the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act — was handled by Judge Jose Paneda of Branch 30 of the Quezon City RTC.

Velasco was arrested together with journalist Lady Ann Salem and trade unionist Rodrigo Esparago on Dec. 10, 2020.

Salem and Esparago were ordered released in March 2021 as the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court for lack of enough evidence.

Still in detention, however, are trade unionist Joel Demate and labor organizers Romina Astudillo, Mark Ryan Cruz, and Jaymie Gregorio Jr.

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