Murder Case vs. Ladlad, Other Activists Evokes Memories of Martial Law

On January 10, 2005, the Regional Trial Court-Baybay Leyte dismissed the case. It stated, “A painstaking look into the records of the case will reveal that none of the elements of the crime of murder was sufficiently established by the prosecution. There were no eyewitnesses offered to prove a blow by blow account of what really transpired. There is no showing that the accused killed the victims. The mere exhumation will not necessarily prove identity of the victims.”

Francisco said that the remains of three of the alleged victims supposedly unearthed in Mt. Sapang Dako, Brgy. Kaulissihan, Inopacan,. Leyte last August 28, 2006 that are now being used as evidence for the case were the same remains allegedly found in Brgy. Monterico, Baybay, Leyte on 27 June 2000 that were used in the dismissed 2005 multiple murder case.

Furthermore, Franciso said, the only basis for including Ladlad in the fabricated case was the allegation by two alleged NPA soldiers that Ladlad was a member of the CPP’s Central Committee in 1985. “However, the principal witness of the police and military, Veronica Tabara, who was supposedly a member of the Central Committee of the CPP/NPA and who named the supposed members of the said Central Committee, did not mention the name of Ladlad as one of such members.”

‘Case should be dismissed’

Francisco argued further that following the Supreme Court ruling in Vicente Ladlad, et al. vs. Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Y. Velasco, et al., the instant case against Ladlad should likewise be dismissed for lack of probable cause.

In the said ruling issued on June 1, 2007, the High Court ordered the Makati RTC Branch 150 to dismiss the rebellion charge against Ladlad and other accused noting that the preliminary investigation was tainted with serious irregularities and the lack of impartiality of the respondent prosecutors. His co-accused in the rebellion case included Ocampo, the late Crispin Beltran, Jose Maria Sison, Gabriela Representative Liza Maza, Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Joel Virador.

Francisco said, “The charge for multiple murder in the instant case is absorbed in the rebellion case filed before the RTC-Makati City which was ordered dismissed by the Supreme Court.”

Added to this, Francisco said, the Supreme Court ruling on Saturnino C. Ocampo vs. Hon. Ephrem S. Abando, et al., on March 30, 2007 also supports the dismissal of the instant case against Ladlad.

Ocampo was granted bail by Supreme Court for the non-bailable offense of multiple murder on the same Leyte charges.

Political persecution

Lim said, “Under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG)…the integrity of the judicial process is being intentionally subverted by manufacturing legal cases against the Left. The Leyte case – like the trumped up rebellion case previous to it – is part of the continuing practice of lumping together the names of leftist activists and accusing them of common crimes in order to criminalize them.”

She said further, “The fabricated case of murder in Leyte illustrates the range of methods being employed by the government to go after its perceived political enemies and how the criminal justice system is being used and abused, totally disregarding due process, basic rights and fair play.” (

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