Former Sgt. Eduardo Bueno named at least six soldiers involved in the surveillance, abduction, torture and murders of labor leader Rolando Olalia and companion Leonor Alay-ay, but, he said, he read in newspapers that most of them had been gunned down one by one.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Another state witness testified last week that indeed, as the first state witness had recounted, labor leader Rolando Olalia and companion Leonor Alay-ay were cased, abducted and brought to an Army safe house near Camp Aguinaldo on the evening of Nov 12, 1986. The two were brought out of the safehouse hours later. They were found brutally murdered the next day in Antipolo, Rizal.
Former Sgt. Eduardo Bueno, one of the members of the “augmentation team” allegedly ordered by then Col. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan to help another team to finish the job on Olalia, corroborated and added some details to the testimony of another state witness, former Sgt. Medardo Dumlao Baretto. The latter was team leader of the said “augmentation team” on the Olalia job. They were working for the Defense department’s Special Operations Group. Juan Ponce Enrile was the Defense minister during that time.
Unlike Baretto, Bueno did not at all leave the safe house that fateful evening. He had been asked to remain. It appears he was not part of the team of soldiers who worked on Olalia at the second floor, but he had seen Olalia and Alay-ay while they were there. He said he did not see who actually killed the two, as he had remained at the safe house. But he saw who took them out of the safe house, and who later returned without the labor leader and his companion.
According to Bueno, he saw Olalia and Alay-ay wearing only their briefs. He said they were also handcuffed and blindfolded, at the second floor of the military safe house in Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City. At one time, Bueno said he was tasked to guard the two while the others were momentarily gone.
Ka Lando Olalia and companion Alay-ay were brought to the safe house by 10 p.m. on November 12, in 1986, according to Bueno’s testimony.
Bueno mentioned some names of the soldiers who had fetched Olalia and Alay-ay and brought them out of the safe house that night. These soldiers include Marine sergeant Dennis Jabatan and Sgt. Desiderio Perez who, apart from Kapunan, were the only soldiers accused currently in government custody. He mentioned more names of soldiers than there were in the list of the accused in the murder case.
Asked if he could point to these soldiers if they were present at the court, Bueno can only point to Perez and Jabatan. “They were many,” he said (he mentioned at least six), but he couldn’t point to them anymore since they have all died. Some were gunned down, one had simply disappeared.
Bueno said he read in the papers that these soldiers were gunned down one by one, in different places.
Asked who Kapunan was, he said all he knew was that he was their superior. Bueno was one of Dumlao’s men in the team he had led in the Defense department’s Special Operations Group.