Groups ask gov’t: Respect accused ex-lawmakers’ decision not to surrender
Leaders of militant groups called on the government to respect the decision of former lawmakers who were charged with murder not to surrender as they claimed that the allegations against them were fabricated.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato Reyes said on Monday that if former representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Liza Maza, and Rafael Mariano refused to surrender, it would be due to negative past experiences with authorities.
“We have to respect kung ano man ‘yong magiging pasya no’ng apat na akusado, specially since meron tayong mga masasaklap na karanasan na ‘yong mga inaaresto, nalalabag ‘yong kanilang mga karapatan, o kaya nama’y tinataniman pa ng dagdag na ebidensya,” Reyes said during a rally in front of Camp Crame.
The Bayan leader also lamented how the supposedly trumped-up charges are being used as a tool for “political persecution”, adding that the current administration can do something to correct the wrongs of the past.
“Kami po ay nananawagan sa publiko na suportahan natin ‘yong apat, at hindi po tama itong mga gawa-gawang kaso na isinasampa kaliwa’t kanan, panahon pa ito ni [former Presisdent] Gloria (Macapagal-Arroyo) eh,” Reyes said.
“Wala namang batayan ‘tong kasong ito, ‘yong ibang kaso na-dismiss na may natira lang na isa nagagamit para sa political persecution and harassment. That is unacceptable, hindi po dapat ‘yan ganyan,” he added.
The former representatives are facing charges for the alleged murder of Bayan Muna critics in the Nueva Ecija city, which were filed in 2006 during the term of former President and now House speaker Arroyo.
According to Reyes and ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro, the four have already filed their motions for reconsideration before the Regional Trial Court of Palayan, Nueva Ecija, and that a hearing has already been set on Friday.
“Nakita naman natin ‘yong track record no’ng apat na ito, ‘yong kanilang ginampanan para sa ating mamamayan […] Ginagawa na po ‘yong mga legal na mga remedy para sa kanila,” Castro said.
However, Reyes said that they are not aware of the four’s whereabouts and plans, saying that they only staged a rally in solidarity with the accused leaders.
“Wala po akong personal knowledge sa kanilang immediate circumstances ngayon. I have no personal knowledge kung ano ang kanilang sitwasyon,” he added.
On Monday, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde asked the lawmakers to surrender to authorities to sort things out, and submit themselves to the proper legal proceedings.
“The PNP is duty-bound to implement orders of judicial authorities. This is our constitutional mandate,” Albayalde said. “I’m appealing to these individuals to just turn themselves over and submit to judicial processes.” /vvp
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