Satur: I am innocent; GMA out to crush critical partylists

House Deputy Minority Leader Satur C. Ocampo and lawyer Romeo T. Capulong today condemned as a clear miscarriage of justice the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the Bayan Muna solon in connection with purported communist purge in Leyte.

“I am innocent of these invented charges. My right to due process was violated by the prosecutor and the judge who ignored seven solid bases for trashing the case. I will avail myself of legal remedies to correct this injustice,” said Ocampo, who spoke to the media in a press conference in Quezon City.

Flashing a tabloid whose banner headline read “Arrest Satur!”, Ocampo said that “a fair hearing will find me innocent”.

“I was arrested on Jan. 14, 1976 and was under military custody until May 5, 1985. This renders impossible the claim that I was in Leyte in 1984 to supervise the purported purge,” said Ocampo.

As to the claim that he went back to Leyte in 1991, “that is also impossible because I was arrested anew in 1989 and was detained until 1992. I cannot be in detention while at the same time appear from thin air in Leyte.”

“In a way, the false charges are an attack on the freedom of thought and the partylist system. Malacañang wants to control the partylist elections, and that includes ensuring that we lose, by hook or by crook,” said Ocampo. “This is a serious assault on the right of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to elect their representatives.”

Ocampo said that “Malacañang, the National Security Adviser, the Department of Justice, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the entire machinery of government are now combining to pin me down and to crush Bayan Muna.”

Addressing Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita and Gonzales, Ocampo said: “Okay, let’s fight. But fight me in a fair and square way. No dirty tactics, and respect due process.”

“You boys are playing dirty,” he quipped.

Capulong said that any independent-minded and intelligent fiscal or judge would have junked the case based on one or all of the following:

1. The prosecutor did not comply with the mandatory requirements on affidavits, which witnesses should have sworn by before him personally.

2. Ocampo is already charged with rebellion. All common crimes allegedly committed in the course of rebellion are considered subsumed in the rebellion case.

3. No probable cause was found for charging Ocampo.

4. No proof of conspiracy was presented, as required by law and jurisprudence.

5. No corpus delicti was produced. The 67 skeletons were not identified through forensic investigation and DNA testing.

6. The prescription period has lapsed. The crimes attributed to Ocampo happened in 1984 to 1985, or more than 20 years ago.

7. The prosecution and the judge admitted and used sworn affidavits of the self-admitted murderers as evidence to pin down Ocampo, a practice prohibited by law and the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Citing the “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction” by the prosecutor and the judge, Capulong said that he would file at the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari with prohibition to stop the enforcement of the arrest warrant.

Reacting to the nationwide manhunt against him, Ocampo said that he would not allow himself to be nabbed in a Gestapo manner and to suffer the fate of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran. “The government should not waste its resources in trying to arrest me. I will surface eventually and voluntarily. Meanwhile, Bayan Muna’s campaign continues nationwide.”

“Talagang puro kapalpakan ang mga naghahabla sa akin,” said Ocampo. “The people behind these cases, the powers-that-be in the intelligence community, are a bunch of fools. Sangkatutak na bobo.”

Ocampo said that “this is the handiwork of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) formed by virtue of President Arroyo’s Executive Order 493. The IALAG was tasked to study the possible cases to be filed against perceived enemies of state. The IALAG includes the DOJ, NBI, AFP, PNP, and is led by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales who is a non-lawyer and a legal ignoramus.”

In the murder case leveled against Ocampo in Nueva Ecija, military proxies claimed that, in 1998, Ocampo ordered the killing of two Akbayan members and harassed Akbayan supporters while campaigning for Bayan Muna.

Bayan Muna was formed only in 1999 and ran for the partylist elections in 2001.

Ocampo was never found guilty of rebellion in a seven-year trial by a full military court while in detention from 1976 to 1985. In the latter cases of kidnapping and murder, which caused his detention in 1989 to 1992, the courts absolved Ocampo and set him free. ###


read support statements of
Senate President Manny Villar
Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan
Senator Joker Arroyo
Senator Ralph Recto
House Minority Leader Chiz Escudero
Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona
Former Senator Loren Legarda
Former Senator Rene Saguisag
Former UP President Francisco Nemenzo
Civil libertarian Renato Constantino Jr.
First Quarter Storm Moveme
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