INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE DEFEND CONDEMNS FALSE CHARGE
OF MULTIPLE MURDER AGAINST FILIPINO OPPOSITION LEADERS
Issued by the International Committee DEFEND
July 7, 2008
Since last Friday, the propagandists of the Arroyo regime have been drumming up
in the mass media the news that the so-called Inopacan, Southern Leyte case of
multiple murder has been transferred from the Hilongos, Leyte regional trial court
to the Manila regional trial court and has been raffled off to Branch No. 32.
We, the International Committee DEFEND, condemn in the strongest terms the
false charge of multiple murder that has been fabricated by the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP), the prosecution office of the Philippine Department of Justice
(DOJ) and the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) against prominent Filipino
Those falsely charged include Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, chairperson of the
negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Luis Jalandoni
(NDFP), NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison and consultants Randall
Echanis, Vicente Ladlad and Rafael Baylosis.
The charge stems from the skeletal remains bought and collected by the Philippine
military authorities from different cemeteries in the Philippines and then placed in a
made-up mass grave in Inopacan, Southern Leyte for the psywar purposes of the
military officers headed by then AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon in
The military authorities have claimed that the skeletal remains are those of personnel
of the New People's Army (NPA) whose killings were part of a "purge of spies" allegedly
ordered in 1985 by the accused Filipino opposition leaders. But the charge is a patent
lie and is seen as such by the public. Those accused were mostly under maximum security
detention by the Marcos fascist dictatorship or were in other circumstances that made it
impossible for them to commit the alleged crime.
The principal accused Prof. Jose Maria Sison was in solitary confinement at Fort Bonifacio
and was not the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Satur Ocampo,
Randall Echanis, Vicente Ladlad and Rafael Baylosis were also under maximum security
detention. Luis Jalandoni had been in The Netherlands as a political refugee since the
late seventies. The chargeis rubbish. The lack of factual basis and falsity of the allegation
Moreover, during the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the charge of rebellion, together with
the charge of subversion, absorbed all allegations of rebellion-related criminal wrongdoing,
including the belated allegation in 2006 about the 1985 "mass grave" against the opposition
leaders . The charges of rebellion and subversion were all nullified after the fall of Marcos.
It is a violation of the right against double jeopardy to incriminate and punish the accused
for incidents of the rebellion in 1985.
Furthermore, the Philippine Supreme Court finalized on 2 July 2007 its decision to order
the dismissal and nullification of the rebellion charge against Prof. Jose Maria Sison and
fifty other opposition leaders for acts of rebellion that spanned the long period, from
the 1968 reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines to the 2006 filing
of the aforesaid rebellion charge.
The current charge against the Filipino opposition leaders has no factual and legal basis.
If the Manila trial court to which the case is assigned has any sense, it should declare
the charge as baseless and unjust and should dismiss it without delay. It is anomalous
enough that the case is flagrantly unfounded and politically motivated. This case has
dragged on to serve the political purposes of the Arroyo regime.
The same kind of military lawyers and prosecutors from the DOJ, who are directed by
the IALAG of the national security adviser Norberto Gonzales and who were berated
by the Supreme Court for allowing the prostitution of the function of prosecution,
are involved in the current false charge. It is extremely shameless for the Arroyo
regime to use false criminal charges, the prosecution and the courts to persecute
The Arroyo regime is utterly condemnable for refusing to abolish the IALAG. The
UN special rapporteur Philip Alston on extrajudicial killings and summary executions
and the most respected international defenders of human rights have long denounced
the IALAG for emboldening, condoning and covering up human rights violations and
have therefore demanded its abolition.
Instead, the Arroyo regime has persisted in using the IALAG to oppress opposition
leaders in the Philippines and abroad, including Prof. Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni,
who are supposed to be protected by the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the
European Convention on Human Rights and who should be beyond the tentacles of
IALAG and the jurisdiction of the oppressive state in the Philippines. ###
For reference please contact:
Ruth de Leon
International Committee DEFEND