August 23, 2008
Ecija court drops kidnapping, murder charges vs Satur, 3 others
By MANNY GALVEZ
The Philippine Star
GUIMBA, Nueva Ecija – The regional trial court (RTC) here dismissed on Thursday charges of kidnapping with murder against Rep. Satur Ocampo and three other party-list lawmakers in connection with the alleged “salvaging” (summary execution) of three rebel returnees suspected as deep penetration agents by the leftist movement a few years ago.
Aside from Ocampo, party-list Reps. Teodoro Casiño, Liza Maza and Rafael Mariano of Bayan were also cleared of the charges in a 12-page order issued by Guimba RTC Judge Napoleon Sta. Romana.
However, the court issued warrants for the arrest of 14 other co-accused, namely Emeterio Antalan, Vicente Cayetano, Eugenia Magpantay, Delfin Pimentel, reportedly all members of the Regional Party Committee for Central Luzon of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF); and 10 others identified only as Ka Apple, Ka Dick, Ka Michelle, Ka Mig, Ka Mylene, Ka Nasa, Ka Puroy, Ka Ra, Ka RV, and Ka Sendong.
The cases stemmed from the killings of Danilo Felipe in Guimba in 2001, Jimmy Peralta in 2003 and Carlito Bayudan in 2004.
Court records showed that on Feb. 17, 2001, a leftist hit squad, acting in alleged conspiracy with the co-accused, flagged down Felipe’s hand tractor in Sitio Balic-balic, Barangay Narvacan, Guimba, abducted him and brought him to Nampicuan town where he was tortured and later killed.
On Dec. 23, 2003, Peralta was allegedly killed by the same group on a highway in Bongabon town.
Government prosecutors recommended no bail for the accused.
The court ruled that there were “substantial infirmities” in the information filed by the prosecutors, who also failed to establish the alleged conspiracy of the four party-list lawmakers.
Provincial prosecutors Antonio Lapuz Jr., Edison Rafanan and Eddie Gutierrez composed the panel that filed the information against Ocampo’s group.
Lawyer Romeo Capulong, lead legal counsel of the four party-list lawmakers, said the decision was a triumph of “decent parliamentarians who champion the cause of the defenseless masses.”