Grant of bail to Kapunan: Decades of impunity from Cory Aquino to Noynoy Aquino

“To grant the petition for bail of Eduardo Kapunan, Jr., accused in the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case, citing that the evidence of guilt is not strong is a clear mockery of justice. The witnesses presented by the prosecution and their testimonies showed direct participation of the accused and the conspiracy of top military officials then namely former Defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Gen. Gregorio Honasan,” Secretary General of Karapatan, Cristina Palabay said.

Rolando Olalia, leader of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and his driver Leonor  Alay-ay were killed on or about the 12th or 13th day of November 1986, in Antipolo Rizal.

In its decision to grant motion for bail, the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo Branch 98, presided by Judge Ma.Consejo Gengos-Ignalaga ruled that “xxx that there is no clear evidence that he (Kapunan) directly ordered the abduction and killing of the victims, as the instruction supposedly given to prosecution witness Medrado Barreto was merely to help Sgt. Edger Sumido, team leader of the Special Operations Group (SOG) in an operation. Thus, the Court rules that the evidence against accused Kapunan is not strong, which therefore entitles him the right to bail xxx”

Prosecution witness Merdado Baretto, a retired member of the Philippine National Police who also worked as a member of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), a unit of the Philippine Constabulary, unequivocally narrated during the hearing his knowledge to the killing of the victims, implicating the participation of the accused to the crime. On re-direct examination, Baretto also testified that Enrile and Honasan knew of the operation against Olalia.

Karapatan strongly appeals to the Court to reconsider its decision. “To let the perpetrators walk away with witnesses clearly identifying Kapunan as the culprit is tantamount to espousing impunity that has long been reigning since BS Aquino’s mother’s presidency,” Palabay said.

“It has been 27 years before the case proceeded. Justice remains elusive for the victims’ families. The witnesses gave direct and personal knowledge of the crime, establishing undoubted conspiracy among the perpetrators. Kapunan and his higher-ups indeed ordered the witnesses to aid Sumido in the commission of the crime yet the court made an absurd apprehension of the testimonies that evidence is not strong,” Palabay added.

“The Court cannot turn blind and deaf to the pieces of evidence positively pointing to Kapunan as among the perpetrator to the crime. All the testimonies and evidence show the willful act of the accused in conspiracy with Honasan, Enrile and two other accused, Desiderio Perez and Dennis Jabatan to kill Olalia and Alay-Ay. Such decision shows the complete callousness of the Aquino government to address the killings along with hundreds of other unresolved human rights violations and the continuing impunity since his mother’s presidency up to the present,” Palabay concluded.###