NCCP welcomes junking of trumped-up charges against UCCP Pastor

Quezon City, Metro Manila – The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) welcomed the order granting the motion to quash filed for UCCP Pastor Dan Balucio last 4 August 2021. “We laud the Honorable Court’s decision to side with the truth and justice. This shows that such ridiculous charges against Pastor Balucio and other church workers in similar predicaments are fabricated and meant to harass.” NCCP General Secretary Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza stated. Bishop Margiza also expressed gratitude to those who worked for the UCCP Pastor’s release, “We thank Atty. Ricky Tomotorgo as well as Pastor Dan’s congregation who stood and worked for this victory. Indeed, God is great!”. he added. Pastor Dan Balucio is the coordinator of Andurog Mayon, NCCP’s ecumenical partner in humanitarian response operation in the Bicol region.

The news came in as Pastor Dan’s counsel, Atty. Ricky Tomotorgo announced Friday morning, “GOD IS GOOD! GOD IS GREAT! Nag-a-almusal ako at naghahanda na para sa hearing ng kasong hawak ko sa Legaspi City RTC, nang malaman kong wala nang hearing, dinismiss na ng Judge ang mga kaso laban sa kliyente ko.” (“I was having breakfast and getting ready for a hearing of a case I was handling at the Legaspi City RTC when I learned that the hearing will not push through as the Judge dismissed the case against my client”)

The order was penned by Honorable Judge Maria Theresa San Juan – Loquillano of Legazpi City RTC Branch 10, “Wherefore, the motion to quash Search Warrants No. EML-21-149 is hereby GRANTED. The items seized pursuant to its implementation are ordered excluded from these and other similar cases. As a consequence, the instant cases are hereby DISMISSED.” Several grounds were cited for the quashal of the search warrants including the absence of personal knowledge by the search warrant applicant, as well as the alleged tipster produced by authorities.

Communities who were beneficiaries to NCCP’s Humanitarian Response to Typhoons   Rolly (Goni) and Ulysses (Vamco) also joined in the call for Pastor Dan’s release. “During relief distribution operations, we have testimonies from the ground asking how is Pastor Dan and some even held up signs calling for his release. This goes to show how Pastor Dan is – a servant, a worker for dignity and hope for his fellow Bicolano.” Bishop Marigza added. ###