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APD | Crime watch group offers 1 million for the arrest of former lawmaker charged with murder

World2018-08-05

By APD writer Melo M. AcunaMANILA, Aug 5(APD) – A non-government organization has offered P 250,000 each for the arrest of four former lawmakers charged with double murder. Citizens Crime Watch president Diego Magpantay said a group of concerned citizens raised P 1 million to serve as reward for persons who will help authorities arrest the former lawmakers.“Our donors do not want to be identified,” Magpantay said in an interview after a public forum Saturday at University of the Philippines Hostel in Quezon City.Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, legal section head of Citizens Crime Watch said the former lawmakers who consistently called on government to adhere to due process of law should submit themselves to same process.It will be recalled former lawmakers Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teddy Casiño were ordered arrested by a regional trial court in Nueva Ecija last Friday, July 28,2018 for allegedly meeting with high-ranking officers of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines on December 23,2003 and ordered the killing of a farmer.  The same lawmakers were alleged to have ordered the killing of another individual on May 2004 to ensure the victory of the party list groups to which the four lawmakers belonged.Another killing was reported to have come from the lawmakers’ order way back in 2001.All the victims were reportedly supporters of another party list group known as Akbayan.No less than Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has called on former Gabriela Party List Representative and now Anti-Poverty Commission secretary to surrender.In a statement, Akbayan chair emeritus Prof. Loretta Ann P. Rosales said her group is not a party to the case.“We condemned and continue to condemn the unconscionable murder of the three farmers whether this was done by the military or any other armed group, it is still a human rights violation,” she said.She added at the time of the filing of charges, Akbayan, including its members on Congress stood against the threats to the four former lawmakers then called Batasan 5 including the late Rep. Crispin Beltran, because “upon perusal of the evidence, it was obvious there was no proof that they had in any way ordered the murders.” “We called for justice for the murdered farmer then and continue to do so now.  But suspicion is not enough to deprive people of their rights,” the former academician-turned-lawmaker said in a statement.Meanwhile, the Public Interest Law Center said the motion of Secretary Maza and former Congressmen Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano and Teddy Casiño for the judge to reconsider cognizance of the charges and the issuance of arrest warrant was submitted yesterday for resolution.In a statement sent late Friday afternoon, the PILC said at the court hearing in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija yesterday, “the public prosecutors made no comment on the motion of the defense, waiving the opportunity to oppose it or present further evidence or arguments.”The motion is now considered submitted for resolution by Cabanatuan City Judge Trece Wenceslao.  The judge took over from Judge Evelyn Atienza-Turla who recused herself yesterday in the light of media reports.The defense lawyers said they await the “impartial, prompt and positive resolution of the case.” (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)  

By APD writer Melo M. Acuna

MANILA, Aug 5(APD) – A non-government organization has offered P 250,000 each for the arrest of four former lawmakers charged with double murder. 

Citizens Crime Watch president Diego Magpantay said a group of concerned citizens raised P 1 million to serve as reward for persons who will help authorities arrest the former lawmakers.

“Our donors do not want to be identified,” Magpantay said in an interview after a public forum Saturday at University of the Philippines Hostel in Quezon City.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, legal section head of Citizens Crime Watch said the former lawmakers who consistently called on government to adhere to due process of law should submit themselves to same process.

It will be recalled former lawmakers Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teddy Casiño were ordered arrested by a regional trial court in Nueva Ecija last Friday, July 28,2018 for allegedly meeting with high-ranking officers of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines on December 23,2003 and ordered the killing of a farmer.  The same lawmakers were alleged to have ordered the killing of another individual on May 2004 to ensure the victory of the party list groups to which the four lawmakers belonged.

Another killing was reported to have come from the lawmakers’ order way back in 2001.

All the victims were reportedly supporters of another party list group known as Akbayan.

No less than Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has called on former Gabriela Party List Representative and now Anti-Poverty Commission secretary to surrender.

In a statement, Akbayan chair emeritus Prof. Loretta Ann P. Rosales said her group is not a party to the case.

“We condemned and continue to condemn the unconscionable murder of the three farmers whether this was done by the military or any other armed group, it is still a human rights violation,” she said.

She added at the time of the filing of charges, Akbayan, including its members on Congress stood against the threats to the four former lawmakers then called Batasan 5 including the late Rep. Crispin Beltran, because “upon perusal of the evidence, it was obvious there was no proof that they had in any way ordered the murders.” 

“We called for justice for the murdered farmer then and continue to do so now.  But suspicion is not enough to deprive people of their rights,” the former academician-turned-lawmaker said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Public Interest Law Center said the motion of Secretary Maza and former Congressmen Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano and Teddy Casiño for the judge to reconsider cognizance of the charges and the issuance of arrest warrant was submitted yesterday for resolution.

In a statement sent late Friday afternoon, the PILC said at the court hearing in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija yesterday, “the public prosecutors made no comment on the motion of the defense, waiving the opportunity to oppose it or present further evidence or arguments.”

The motion is now considered submitted for resolution by Cabanatuan City Judge Trece Wenceslao.  The judge took over from Judge Evelyn Atienza-Turla who recused herself yesterday in the light of media reports.

The defense lawyers said they await the “impartial, prompt and positive resolution of the case.” 

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

 

 

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