Supreme Court junks 2 rebels’ plea for amnesty in Olalia slay

Published by rudy Date posted on March 20, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the petition filed by two military rebels seeking immunity for the kidnapping and murder of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairman Rolanda Olalia and his driver Leonor Alay-ay in 1986.

In a 27-page decision penned by Associate Justice Dante Tinga, the High Tribunal affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) that dismissed the consolidated petitions of Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) members Eduardo Kapunan Jr. and Oscar Legaspi, who sought immunity from prosecution following the 1994 amnesty grant by then President Fidel Ramos.

The CA ruled that the general grant of amnesty issued by Ramos to rebels, insurgents, and other persons who had committed crimes for political ends does not give petitioners immunity from prosecution for the Olalia-Alay-ay murders.

This was affirmed by the SC, which said that it was satisfied that there is prima facie evidence to indict Kapunan and Legaspi for the two murders. It did not find merit in the petitioners’ arguments that they are exempt from prosecution since the amnesty grant supposedly had extinguished their criminal liability.

The High Court also held that the amnesty grant to Kapunan extends to acts constituting only to the crime of rebellion. The limited scope of the amnesty granted to Legaspi is even more apparent as it only covered offenses connected with his participation in the 1987 and 1989 coup attempts against the administration of then President Corazon Aquino.

Thus, any inquiry whether he is liable for the prosecution in connection with the Olalia-Alay-ay killings will necessarily rely not on the list of acts or crimes enumerated in Section 1 of Proclamation 347, but on the definition of rebellion and its component acts, added the SC.

The two petitioners elevated their case to the CA after the Department of Justice (DOJ) thumbed down their defense of amnesty.

Pending the CA appeal, the DOJ filed criminal charges with the Antipolo Regional Trial Court Branch 71 against Kapunan, Legaspi and several other RAM members tagged in the Olalia-Alay-ay kidnap-slay case.– Edu Punay, Philippine Star

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