“We are not surprised by Bueno’s admission, for we knew from the very beginning who the real perpetrators of the most ghastly torture and murder of our comrades Ka Lando and Ka Leonor were.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) urged for the “swift resolution” of the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case this week, after hearing the testimony of the prosecutors’ second state witness. Labor lawyer Rolando Olalia was president of the KMU at the time he was abducted and murdered 27 years ago, just months after Filipinos successfully ousted a dictator. The funeral march for Olalia had been the first largest rally held under the then newly installed Aquino administration; it was attended by close to a million protesters.
Last Tuesday, former sergeant Eduardo Bueno told the court that the order to abduct and murder Olalia and Alay-ay had come from the commanding officer of the Special Operations Group (SOG), then Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. The SOG was under the Department of Defense headed by current Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Former Col. Eduardo Kapunan, cited by another state witness as commanding officer also of SOG, was actually commanding officer of a group of soldiers who served as operatives in the Olalia operations, state witness Bueno told the court. Kapunan had also served as commanding officer of SOG, but according to his lawyer, was no longer its commanding officer by November of 1986.
Honasan and Enrile are widely regarded as ringleaders of rightist group Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa or RAM which had sought to topple via several bloody coup attempts the post-Marcos regime of Corazon “Cory” Aquino. Their names had cropped up in the investigations conducted immediately after the mutilated bodies of Olalia and Alay-ay were found at the grassy hills of Antipolo, Rizal on Nov 13, 1986. But their involvement was not directly revealed, until now when two former operatives gave testimonies and disclosed at the same time gruesome tales of cover up.
“We are not surprised by Bueno’s admission, for we knew from the very beginning who the real perpetrators of the most ghastly torture and murder of our comrades Ka Lando and Ka Leonor were,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson. The labor group welcomed Bueno’s admission, even if it was heard in court decades after the gruesome murders. In a statement, Labog said it strengthens the verdict of the Filipino workers and the people.
In investigations conducted since the late 80’s, it was revealed that the killing of Olalia and Alay-ay was part of RAM’s Oplan God Save the Queen, a destabilization plot against the government of former president Aquino to force it to remove the “democratic space for leftists.” The coup plotters failed to supplant the chief executive. But the president removed Cabinet secretaries who were being accused by the plotters as “leftists.” Then president Cory Aquino soon led the military in declaring a “total war” against the left and the people.
“Enrile and Honasan have their blood-stained fingerprints all over this (Olalia-Alay-ay) case, with all the damning testimonies and screaming evidences confirming beyond reasonable doubt their culpability,” Labog said.
The labor group questioned “the kind of justice we have in this country,” where the likes of Enrile and Honasan could flout the law and worse, even climb back to power.
Labog asked for the public’s greater vigilance on the case, saying it is time that the families, friends, comrades, and the working class that Ka Lando Olalia valiantly fought for in his lifetime attain justice. The labor group said they could not wait any longer for the resolution of the trial. Labog said they hope that the criminals, no matter who they may be, will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”