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LGBTQ in Pampanga city demands release of lesbian

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The LGBTQ community in this Pampanga capital has demanded the release of a lesbian who was mistaken for a respondent in an illegal recruitment case in Benguet province.

Melissa Centeno Mallari has been arrested and detained by the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Olivas since Sept. 15 after she was indicted in 2014 for a case of illegal recruitment in large scale and by a syndicate, according to her lawyer Mikee Andrea Guevarra in a phone interview.

Guevarra said the identity of Mallari, 34, will be verified by the complainants during the first hearing this Tuesday in La Trininad, Benguet. The lesbian was brought to a jail in Benguet and returned to Camp Olivas for medical reason, the counsel added.

Assistant provincial prosecutor Artemio Copas recommended no bail for one Melissa Mallari and her two co-accused in a resolution on Nov. 13, 2014.

Siwala, an accredited LGBTQ organization here, called Mallari’s predicament a “frame up and injustice.”

Joebee Bondoc Henson, an adviser of Siwala, said she was “framed because of personal grudge from an alleged police captain.”

“It was proven that the Melissa Mallari in the warrant was not her,” Henson said.