The public, especially the young people who have known him only as the senator who presided over Corona’s impeachment trial, must be educated that Enrile is far from the hero he depicts himself to be. Lest we forget, Enrile was tagged as among the leading plotters of ‘God Save the Queen’, which claimed the lives of Ka Lando and Alay-ay, as well as former Bayan secretary general Lean Alejandro.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – On the day retired Air Force Lt. Col. Red Kapunan was arraigned in court over a nearly 26-year-old murder case, the multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged the public to take this also as a reminder of the true role that Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile had played in Philippine history during the tumultuous years of the tail-end of the Marcos regime and its immediate aftermath.
Witnesses and investigations tagged Kapunan as leader of the team that conducted the ‘operation’ or murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia. Kapunan was one of the leaders of rightist group RAM believed to be headed in the 80s by Enrile.
Bayan noted that Enrile has been campaigning to magnify his role as a People Power hero, “when in fact his motivation in deserting the Marcos dictatorship was selfish political interest as proven by events following the installation of Cory Aquino administration through People Power.”
“Enrile’s campaign of deception must be stopped. The public, especially the young people who have known him only as the senator who presided over Corona’s impeachment trial, must be educated that Enrile is far from the hero he depicts himself to be. Lest we forget, Enrile was tagged as among the leading plotters of ‘God Save the Queen’, which claimed the lives of Ka Lando and Alay-ay, as well as former Bayan secretary general Lean Alejandro,” said Dr. Carol Araullo, national chairman of Bayan.
Araullo was referring to the plan of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) headed by Enrile and Senator Gregorio Honasan to assassinate leftist leaders and top government officials of the Cory administration. The idea was to generate turmoil, unseat Cory and replace the civilian government installed by the popular uprising against Marcos with a military junta headed by Enrile. Coup attempts against the Cory administration in 1987 and 1989 also implicated Marcos’s former Defense minister, who had control over the highly notorious military forces of the dictatorial regime.
KMU also condemned Enrile “for trying to absolve himself of wrongdoing during Martial Law and the period that followed.”
“We find Enrile’s attempt to re-write history to his favor deeply revolting. Witnesses in the double murder case point to him as having provided logistical support to the abduction, torture and murder of our comrades,” Roger Soluta, secretary-general of KMU, said in a statement.
The labor group also condemned “Pres. Aquino for supporting Enrile’s campaign to absolve himself of his many crimes under Martial Law. Enrile cannot be so bold in trying to re-write history without the support of Pres. Aquino,” Soluta said.
On November 13, 1986, Olalia, who was then the national chairman of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Alay-ay, were found dead in Antipolo City. Aside from Kapunan, other RAM members who were charged with murder cases were retired Col. Tirso Legaspi, ex-Capt. Ricardo Dicon, ex-Sergeants Gene Paris, Edgardo Sumido and Dennis Jabatan, ex-Staff Sergeants Freddie Sumagaysay and Jose Bacera, ex-Cpl. Cirilo Almario, ex-Staff Sgt. Fernando Casanova, ex-Sergeants Desiderio Perez and Filomeno Maligaya and Gilberto Galicia.
‘No special treatment for Kapunan et al’
Bayan joined calls aired by relatives of victims and other organizations that Kapunan and other suspects should not be given VIP treatment by the military. “Kapunan should be transferred to a regular civilian jail facility and not enjoy the comforts of the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio,” Araullo urged.
Roger Soluta, secretary-general of KMU, also condemned the “special treatment being given to Kapunan,” saying Kapunan should be in police custody and not military custody.
With members of Bayan, KMU held a picket in front of the Rizal Regional Trial Court in Taytay as members of the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army patrolled the area to secure Kapunan, who claims that there is a ‘serious threat’ to his life as a result of the murder case.
The labor leader called for greater public vigilance on the developments in the case, expressing fears that the trial will be used to clear the names of the suspects in the case.
“We cannot forget the fact that the first call for the case’s reopening came from a fake press release bearing KMU’s name. Its basis for the call is ‘the wind of justice is prevailing in the country’ under Pres. Aquino, something which we will never say,” Soluta said.
The labor group thanked friends in the media who have been reporting on the developments in the case and writing editorials calling for justice for their comrades. He called on the public to keep a close watch on the developments in “this long-delayed trial.”
Araullo of Bayan vowed they and their allies will closely monitor the hearings at the Antipolo court and help ensure that Olalia, Alay-ay and their families will finally attain the very much delayed justice.