“The Army’s non-compliance with a categorical and unqualified order of the Court is not unexpected. They have done this before over and over again.” – private prosecutor
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Edre Olalia, secretary general of National Union of Peoples Lawyers and one of the private prosecutors in the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case confirmed yesterday that the court had served a four-page order last October 22 for the transfer of former Col. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan to the Rizal Provincial Jail.
“We are relieved as this is the only correct thing to do,” said Olalia. This Wednesday, “Two former RAM soldiers and subordinates of Col. Kapunan are ready to testify against him.”
But so far, the Army Intelligence and Security Group (ISG) is refusing to follow the order, saying it would wait for the Court decision on a motion for reconsideration filed by Kapunan’s lawyers.
“The Army’s non-compliance with a categorical and unqualified order of the Court is not unexpected. They have done this before over and over again,” Olalia said.
Kapunan was one of the 13 accused in the murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia and labor organizer Leonor Alay-ay. After high-profile investigations led by the National Bureau of Investigation and a panel of prosecutors with the Department of Justice named Kapunan and 12 other members of RAM (a known rightist group responsible for many bloody coup d’ etats in the 80s), Kapunan and the other accused had evaded arrest by filing appeals before the courts. They sought to excuse themselves from the murder case by reason of the amnesty granted to them by the former administration of Fidel V. Ramos.
But after the Supreme Court in 2009 ruled with finality against the amnesty argument of Kapunan and the 12 other accused in the Olalia double murder case, the case was remanded to the regional trial court in Rizal. Warrants of arrest against Kapunan and 12 others were issued last February. Nearly eight months after, only two, including Kapunan, are in government custody. They had surrendered.
While former Sgt. Desiderio Perez is officially detained at a Rizal civilian jail, Kapunan, a former Lt. Col., is under the custody of the Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio, which is said to be ‘irregular.’ Legally, Kapunan should be in regular or civilian jail, private prosecutors for Olalia and Alay-ay said.
In refusing to comply with the court order to transfer Kapunan to regular jail, Kapunan’s defense and the army “are not only defying a lawful order, but behaving against their earlier public claim that they will comply,” Olalia noted.
The Philippine Army’s behavior appears questionable, too, considering that it is supposed to be denying that it is linked to Kapunan’s case. “Why should they dribble the transfer on the pretext of a motion of an accused that they are not supposed to be representing? A motion by a private individual cannot be invoked by the military to not comply. We will let the facts speak eloquently for themselves,” Olalia said.