Murder Charges vs. Philippines Rep.
February 16, 2007“It’s plain and simple harassment . . . an old ploy to intimidate and sidetrack us,” said Philippines Representative Liza Maza. The Gabriela Women’s Party member received a subpoena Wednesday afternoon for her alleged involvement in the killing of Danilo Felipe, Jimmy Peralta and Carlito Bayudang, community organizers in Nueva Ecija. Also named respondents in the murder case were Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino of the worker’s Bayan Muna party and Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Representative Rafael Mariano, as well as 15 others. “We’d like to think of it as a Valentine ruse from the administration,” Maza said, referring to the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to which the parties of the subpoenaed legislators stand in opposition. “The charges are so ludicrous, whoever masterminded it should be a fantasy scriptwriter.” The subpoena was issued by Antonio Lapus, investigating prosecutor of Nueva Ecija, where the victims were killed on different dates, from February 2001 to May 2004. According to the report, it was two and a half years later, on November 22, 2006, when a certain Julie Flores Sinohin came forward and admitted his involvement in the crimes. He alleged that Maza and the other respondents “participated by directing, approving and implementing the liquidation” of the said victims. According to Alnie Foja, Maza’s legal counsel, the charges against her client will not hold water. “These cases are a rehash of the rebellion case filed against the Batasan 6 last year,” she said, the name referencing the parliamentary complex where the lawmakers serve. “There is nothing new.” Noting the perfunctory nature of the witness affidavits and statement of facts filed by the police, Foja added that the cases are obvious fabrications. “The more cases filed, the more the lies become evident. It’s just sad that our judicial system, supposedly the last bastion in defense of people’s civil liberties, has been contaminated by the grand scheme of trying to discredit these progressive partylists,” Foja said. “These charges are part of the scheme of a desperate administration that is getting the flak from the international community for the unabated political killings in the country,” said Maza. She said the Macapagal-Arroyo government is “simply trying to make an impression” for Phillip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial Killings, who is currently investigating in the Philippines. “The administration is trying to deflect the attention of the public from the growing condemnation of the political assassinations. They are obviously going to pieces,” Maza concluded. “The administration is deceiving no one but themselves.”—Gabriela Women’s Party