(UPDATED) Posted 7:10 p.m. March 16, 2007
Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna Party (People First) was arrested this afternoon, March 16, after filing a petition before the Supreme Court for certiorari, and for immediate and unconditional release or protective custody with the House of Representatives or any religious institution.
The warrant of arrest was served by Supt. Eduardo Sierra, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of the Manila Police District, was issued by Judge Ephraim Abando of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court of Hilongos, province of Leyte, March 5, for the alleged murders in a purported purge of at least 62 members of the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) in Inopacan, Leyte in 1984. Ocampo also filed a filed a petition for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) of the local court’s proceedings.
Ocampo was accompanied by his wife Bobbie Malay, former Vice Pres. Teofisto Guingona, Sen. Jamby Madrigal, senatorial candidate Koko Pimentel, and Rep. Teddy Casino also of Bayan Muna when he was brought to the Western Police District Headquarters at U.N. Avenue, Manila in Guingona’s car. He was brought to the Office of the District Director of the WPD.
Ocampo’s lawyer, Romeo Capulong said that his client’s case is a matter of national concern being a case of political persecution. He, therefore, is hoping that the Supreme Court would act on the case immediately. Meanwhile, the High Court agreed to raffle the case this afternoon in spite of the fact that it is a Friday and past office hours.
The Supreme Court later issued a ruling ordering the respondents in the case to submit their comments on his petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO). The oral arguments for the case are set for March 23.
Neri Javier Colmenares, one of Ocampo’s lawyers, said the March 23 hearing would be “moot and academic” if Ocampo remains in police custody. But Supt. Hospicio Guevarra, chief of the WPD’s General Assignments Division where Ocampo is being held, insisted that Ocampo has to remain in police custody at least until March 23. (Bulatlat.com)