On top of Kapunan being out on bail, and only two of the accused in custody, “some of the perpetrators of the beastly torture and cold-blooded murders are still at large, and some of the widely-perceived masterminds are even also implicated in other past shenanigans and present anomalies including the Pork Barrel scam.” – Edre Olalia, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Can alleged masterminds be less responsible for a crime than the mere lookout?
This is one of the questions aired by lawyer Rolando Rico Olalia, son of labor leader Rolando Olalia who, along with his companion Leonor Alay-ay, were abducted, tortured and murdered in 1986. The surviving Olalia personally filed a petition today before the Court of Appeals assailing the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo which granted the application for bail of one of the primary suspects in the 28-year old murder case Col. Eduardo Kapunan.
Public and private prosecutors for both the Olalia and Alay-ay families, including those from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and supporters from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU labor center acompanied the family.
Olalia’s son said they are deeply disappointed and frustrated with the lower court’s orders that granted Kapunan’s Motion for Bail. He said that based on evidences and testimonies presented in court, there are glaring evidences strongly pointing to Kapunan’ guilt. He asked: How come the lower court, using the same evidences and testimonies, allowed Kapunan to post bail, yet denied the same for two of his lowly former sergeants? Based on the testimony of state witnesses Kapunan was one of the military officers in the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), a rightist group within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), that ordered the abduction and subsequent murder of Olalia and Alay-ay. During the long-delayed hearing of testimonies of state witnesses – the decade-long delay was also due to legal obstacles thrown its way by the counsels of Kapunan and other accused former soldiers — the state witnesses were finally able to testify in court against Kapunan and the rest of the accused.
From these hearings, it was also revealed that Kapunan had allegedly bribed and threatened the state witness, former Sgt Medardo Dumlao Baretto, against revealing what he knows of the murder. And, the rest of the team of operatives who showed likelihood of revealing their knowledge of the crime also either disappeared or got killed.
All the accused are members of the so-called Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) which staged a series of failed coups during the administration of BS Aquino’ s mother.
“The Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case remains unresolved for almost three (3) decades and it has not been easy,” lamented lawyer Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Secretary General and cousin of the slain elder Olalia and one of the private prosecutors.
The NUPL secretary-general views as an in-you-face insult to the families of Ka Lando Olalia and Ka Leonor Alay-ay this decision of the lower court that allowed one of the primary suspects to evade being in jail. He said it reflects the general public view of the “current state of selective justice and double standard exemplified or practiced without compunction by the present administration.”
On top of Kapunan being out on bail, and only two of the accused in custody, “some of the perpetrators of the beastly torture and cold-blooded murders are still at large, and some of the widely-perceived masterminds are even also implicated in other past shenanigans and present anomalies including the Pork Barrel scam,” lawyer Edre Olalia said.
He added that the accused “have an impudent perception that they remain untouchable by our justice system and that they can evade liability at all cost.”
Despite this, Olalia said they filed this petition for certiorari against allowing Kapunan to post bail “because we will fight to the end in all fora and will never give up even if it takes generations.”
“Some of the other masterminds being steadfastly pointed by the prosecution witnesses remain scot-free, even reinventing themselves every now and then. They think they are perpetually off the hook for these murders. Now they profess immaculate innocence for serious charges of dipping their dirty big hands in the public coffers. This is what happens when you let them go once, they feel they can be let off the hook again. That is what impunity means,” Edre Olalia said. He was referring not only to Kapunan, but to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who at the time of Olalia-Alay-ay double murder was Defense Minister and Kapunan’s superior both in RAM and in the Special Operations Group he then headed.
The Olalia and Alay-ay families and their supporters vowed they will not push ahead until all the perpetrators, including the big fish involved in the murders, are punished and made liable for the gruesome crime that they committed.