Monday, April 7, 2014

Ocampo and co-accused argued that skeletal remains in Inopacan were the same bones found in mass grave in Baybay, Leyte in 2000

In a decision dated February 11, the Supreme Court dismissed the consolidated petitions for certiorari filed by the accused and tasked the trial court to determine if the murders were committed in pursuing rebellion. Ocampo and more than 70 others were charged in connection with an alleged mass grave found in Inopacan, Leyte.

(Photo credit to Mon Ramirez / Bulatlat.com)
In a clarificatory hearing on April 1, Judge Marino dela Cruz Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 22 said the prosecutor in Leyte, referring to Rosulo Vivero, included in the case information that the accused are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and that they ordered the killing. 

Dela Cruz said should the court determine that the case was done in pursuit of rebellion, then the charges would be dropped and a rebellion case would be filed. The court, he added, would, however, wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on the motion for reconsideration that Ocampo and his co-accused filed before the high court on March 10. 

Ocampo, in his weekly column at the Philippine Star, said “the murder charge is the only remaining court case (all instigated by the state security forces) I have to confront, fight and win. Since 1978 I have confronted eight various charges — but have never been proven guilty of any crime.”

In an interview with Bulatlat.com after the clarificatory hearing, Ocampo said, “it is as if they are inducing us to prove that (we are guilty) of rebellion so we can be charged so. But we do not want that.”


On the same day, however, the Supreme Court upheld its February 11 decision and gave the Manila Trial Court Brach 32 “the go-ahead to proceed with the multiple murder trial of former Bayan Muna Rep. Saturnino Ocampo and three other consultants of the Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front in connection with the discovery of a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte some eight years ago,” Interaksyon.com reported

No evidence

In their motion for reconsideration filed before the high court, Ocampo and his co-accused argued that the five of the 12 skeletal remains found in Inopacan, Leyte were the very same found in the alleged mass grave in Baybay, Leyte in 2000.

The petition claimed that public prosecutor Vivero misled the judge and the parties by implying that the identities of the victims have been ascertained through forensic evidence.

Petitioners also found no sufficient evidence for the warrant of arrest issued against the accused.

“The petition stated that Ocampo was detained at the time of the incident. The petition also stated that of the voluminous documents submitted by the complainants as their so-called evidence, the name of Randall Echanis was mentioned only once. The name of Rafael Baylosis, meanwhile, was mentioned by three prosecution witnesses who averred that Baylosis is one of the members of the CPP Central Committee who ordered the alleged mass killings,” a previousBulatlat.com report read.

Ocampo said that at the time that the murder charges were filed there was also an existing rebellion case pending at the Regional Trial Court of Makati.

“They did not subsume it to the rebellion case, which was dismissed in 2007,” he said.

“If the Supreme Court will not decide on our favor, we will still raise the issues before the RTC trial,” Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center, lawyer for the accused, told Bulatlat.com.

This article is a reprint
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO 

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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