‘We Don’t Want Them Dead’

Posted 4:23 p.m. March 15, 2007

“We don’t want them dead.”

This is what the wives of four political activists accused of murder said when asked in a press conference earlier this afternoon whether they would advise their husbands to surface at this time.

“All extrajudicial killings started with fabricated charges – they may have been filed in court, they may not have been filed in court,” said Carolina “Bobbie” Malay, wife of Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Satur Ocampo who is one of the four accused. “Character assassination first, and then surveillance that grew tighter and tighter. We are really worried because their lives are in danger.”

In a statement distributed during the press conference, Malay and Fides Lim-Ladlad, Linda Lacaba-Echanis, and Lualhati Roque-Baylosis – wives of Bayan Muna leader Vicente Ladlad and Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) leaders Randall Echanis and Rafael Baylosis, respectively – condemned the issuance of arrest warrants for their husbands what they described as “false murder charges.”

The warrants are for the alleged killings of members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Inopacan, Leyte in 1984 as part of a purported “purge” within the ranks of the communist movement. Ocampo, Ladlad, Echanis, and Baylosis are accused of having signed in the presence of “witnesses” an order to massacre people in 1984 in Inopacan under a so-called “Oplan VD.”

Ocampo is publicly known to have been in maximum security detention in Bicutan, Taguig at the time the massacre is supposed to have taken place.

Lim and Lacaba showed pictures of and news clippings about their husbands in jail to prove that Ladlad and Echanis could not have personally supervised the alleged Inopacan massacre.

“The charges against him are a total sham,” Lim said of Ladlad. “He was a political prisoner at Camp Nakar, Lucena City…when these supposed murder cases in Leyte took place. He was in fact locked up in jail from February 1983 until March 1986 following the EDSA uprising when all political prisoners were ordered freed by President (Corazon) Aquino.”

“My husband (was) a political detainee during the Marcos dictatorship,” Lacaba meanwhile said of Echanis. “From 1983 to 1984, my husband was detained under solitary confinement and was held incommunicado in Camp Aguinaldo. Even his close relatives and lawyers were not allowed to visit him. From 1984 to 1986, he was transferred at Camp Adduru, Regional Command 2 Stockade until his release in March 1986.”

Ocampo, Ladlad, Echanis, and Baylosis have not surfaced since the arrest warrants were issued. They are busy consulting with their legal counsels and preparing for their legal moves, their wives said.

Their wives pointed out, however, that they would not advise their husbands to surface at this time. (Bulatlat.com)

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