DOJ creates prosecution task force for the Olalia double murder case

19 October 2012

Department of Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima confirmed the creation of a DOJ panel of prosecutors who will handle the prosecution of perpetrators guilty of the brutal murder of Rolando Olalia, Chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno, and his driver, Leonor Alay-ay.

In a move seen to underscore DOJ's interest and commitment, Department Order No. 860 was issued, bearing the date 12 October 2012, creating a composite and expanded team of veteran prosecutors from the National Prosecution Service to handle the Olalia-Alay-ay case. The prosecutors were directed to doggedly and effectively pursue the conviction of the guilty parties and to give a heightened degree of focus commensurate to the importance of finding justice for the 26-year-old crime.

On 12 November 1986, Olalia and his driver were abducted, tortured and cruelly murdered by what appears to be elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). On 18 March 1998, two separate informations were recommended by the DOJ to be filed before the court against Eduardo E. "Red" Kapunan Jr . , Oscar E. Legaspi, Ricardo Dicon, Cirilio Almario, Filomeno Crizaldo Maligaya, Edger Sumido, Jose Bacera Jr., Dennis Jabatan, Freddie Sumagaysay, Fernando Casanova, Gene Paris, Gilberto
Galicia, and Desiderio Perez.

The trial of the case before the Regional Trial Court in Antipolo was stalled when Kapunan and Legaspi appealed the DOJ Resolution all the way to the Supreme Court, invoking, among others, that the amnesty granted to them via Proclamation No. 347 dated 23 March 1995 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos extinguished their criminal liability.

On 13 March 2009, the Supreme Court found that there is prima facie evidence for the prosecution of Kapunan and Legaspi for the murders of Olalia and Alay-ay. The High Court negated the arguments of Kapunan and Legaspi that they are exempt from prosecution for the double murder on account of the grants of amnesty for rebellion/coup d' etat, the grant of which was subject to specified limitations. Consequently, and after a barrage of Motions filed by the accused contesting the Supreme Court decision, the Regional Trial Court of Antipole issued the corresponding warrants of arrest against all the accused on 03 February 2012.

Kapunan surrendered last 06 October 2012 and has since been in the custody of the Philippine Army. He is only the second of the accused to surrender. The first was Desiderio Perez who surfaced last 24 July 2012.

The Olalia double murder case, said Sec. De Lima, "is imbued with public interest demanding only the most thorough and meticulous prosecution from the DOJ." The handling prosecutors are also instructed "to vehemently oppose any motion of Kapunan to be placed under continuing military custody."

According to her, "His (Kapunan's) continued military detention is untenable, questionable and indefensible. For one thing, he is not anymore in active service that can justify the Philippine Army's custody of him." Finally, De Lima confirms instructing the handling prosecutors to seek for the civilian custody of Kapunan, preferably transferring his detention to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

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