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Court clears, frees Kalinga woman activist

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A Kalinga woman activist leader walked out of jail today after the charges of illegal possession of explosives was dismissed Thursday in Tabuk, Kalinga.

Beatrice Belen was released by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology – Tabuk a day after the decision by Regional Trial Court branch 39 in Lubuagan, Kalinga which also ordered her immediate release.

Court record said that on October 25 of last year, Belen was arrested in her residence at Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga when agents of the Criminal and Detection Group (CIDG), the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) and elements of the 503rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (IBPA) conducted searches at residences at Uma early in the morning.

The police claimed that three rifle grenades were discovered in Belen’s house.

Belen, called “Manang Betty”, is the chairperson of the Innabuyog-Gabriela Kalinga Chapter at the time of her arrest.

She was the leader of their village in opposing the proposed Chevron Energy Company’s geothermal energy project in Kalinga from 2012 up to the present.

In 2018, Belen was awarded the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan for her advocacy of protecting the environment against destructive projects.

The National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) through lawyer Catherine Salucon defended her in the illegal explosives case.

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