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Resolution unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Saturniño Ocampo, Mr. Teodoro Casiño, Ms. Liza Maza and Mr. Rafael Mariano, incumbent members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Referring also to the Committee's report on its mission to the Philippines carried out from 18 to 21 April 2007, and taking into account the information provided in January 2009 by the House of Representatives,

Bearing in mind thaton 1 June 2007 the Supreme Court dismissed the rebellion charges brought in February 2006 against the parliamentarians concerned as being politically motivated; that those charges had been brought by the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), set up by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in January 2006 to ensure effective handling of investigative and prosecutorial aspects of the fight against threats to national security; and that the political parties to which the parliamentarians concerned belong and they themselves are regarded as such by that Group,

Recalling that the following new cases have since then been brought against the parliamentarians concerned, and considering their current stage:

  • On 16 February 2007, a multiple murder case was brought in Leyte against Mr. Ocampo and others; he was arrested on 16 March 2007 and released on bail by the Supreme Court on 3 April 2007 pending the Court's decision on his petition for certiorari and prohibition; the reportedly fabricated evidence adduced by the prosecution links Mr. Ocampo to the execution of government infiltrators into the Communist Party/New People's Army (CPP/NPA) during the period 1985 to 1991 and describes him as a high-ranking official of the CPP/NPA;

  • In August 2008 the Philippine National Police filed another charge of multiple murder against Mr. Ocampo; it involves the murder of Romeo Tabayas and Guillermo Daguing and, according to the House of Representatives and the sources, is not new because it is already contained in the Leyte case; motions brought by Mr. Ocampo to suspend proceedings in this case in view of the pending petition in the Supreme Court are still awaiting resolution by the prosecution;

  • In January 2007, a disqualification case was brought against the political parties of the parliamentarians concerned on the basis of another murder case (Nueva Ecija case) whereby Representatives Ocampo, Casiño, Maza and Mariano (the “Batasan Four”) allegedly conspired together and planned the elimination of the supporters of another political party, Akbayan, which accusation they strongly refute; while the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) dismissed the disqualification petitions for “lack of merit”, the murder case is proceeding; on 18 April 2008 two counts of murder (having allegedly conspired in the murder of one Carlito Bayudang and one Jimmy Peralta) were filed in the Regional Trial Court of Palayan City, in addition to one count of kidnapping and murder of one Danilo Felipe in the Regional Trial Court of Guimba; on 5 August 2008 the Regional Trial Court of Guimba ordered that the charge of kidnapping with murder be dismissed, having found the extrajudicial confessions of prosecution witnesses to be inadmissible evidence; however, the Regional Trial Court of Palayan City did not dismiss the two murder charges pending before it even though they are based on the same evidence adduced in the kidnapping with murder case and ordered the provincial prosecutor to conduct a new preliminary investigation; on 26 September 2008, the court denied a motion for partial reconsideration of that order; the parliamentarians concerned have filed perjury cases against the complainants in this case;

  • In May 2007, shortly before the elections, Mr. Casiño was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly preventing the arrest of Mr. Vincent Borja, a presumed member of the CPP/NPA; according to the sources, given the incidence of extrajudicial executions and abductions in which the military are involved, Mr. Casiño asked the soldiers, who were not in uniform and had no arrest warrant, to present a warrant and to accompany the arrested person to a military camp until he was transferred to the police; Mr. Casiño filed his counter-affidavit on 27 June 2007, after which a clarificatory hearing was conducted; the case is still awaiting resolution by the prosecutor;

  • On 17 March 2008 a petition for Writ of Amparo was filed against top officials of the CPP and Mr. Ocampo, which is pending in the Regional Trial Court of Basey, Western Samar, in connection with alleged threats by communist rebels against the life, liberty and security of one Dennis Gacuma, whose mother was reportedly abducted; Mr. Ocampo filed his answer to the petition on 9 March 2008; the first hearing of the case was reset three times and scheduled for 16 February 2009,
Recalling that the House of Representatives has adopted a series of resolutions to inquire into politically motivated killings, summary executions and enforced disappearances, urging the Government inter alia to immediately sign and ratify the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; that in Resolution 118, it directed the House Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights inter alia to “conduct an investigation into the various forms of human rights violations and attacks against members and leaders of the Anakpawis Party list and other progressive parties and organizations … and to put an end to political repression of the party lists they belong to”,
  1. Thanks the House of Representatives for the information supplied and for its cooperation;

  2. Notes with deep concern that not only are the cases against the parliamentarians concerned not proceeding, but new cases are brought against them, in particular against Representative Ocampo;

  3. Points out in this respect in particular the failure of the prosecution to resolve the obstruction of justice case against Mr. Casiño brought against him almost two years ago, and the filing of another murder case against Representative Ocampo which is already part of the multiple murder case brought against him earlier, and hence in breach of the principle that no one shall be tried twice for the same offence (prohibition upon double jeopardy);

  4. Recalls in this connection once again that the rebellion charges, initially filed against them by IALAG following nine months of preparation, were finally dismissed by the Supreme Court as clearly being politically motivated, and that a petition to bar their political parties from standing in the May 2007 elections was dismissed by the Commission on Elections for lack of merit;

  5. Consequently has every reason to believe that the proceedings under way against the parliamentarians in question are part of an ongoing effort to remove them and their political parties from the democratic political process;

  6. Urges the authorities either to proceed with the cases brought against the parliamentarians concerned diligently, as is their duty, or to drop the charges forthwith; reaffirms also that the prosecution and judicial authorities have a duty not to proceed with any case on the basis of political considerations; once again recalls in this respect the Supreme Court ruling in the rebellion case in which the Court reiterated “the importance of maintaining the integrity of criminal prosecutions in general and preliminary investigations in particular” and stated the following: “We cannot emphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow, and should avoid giving the impression that their noble office is being used or prostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, for political ends”;

  7. Furthermore observes with concern the differing positions of courts regarding the admissibility of extrajudicially obtained confessions as evidence, resulting in the dismissal of a case on one occasion and the ordering of further preliminary investigation on another; reiterates therefore its wish to receive information about the rules on admissibility of evidence in Philippine law;

  8. Notes that the many cases brought against the parliamentarians concerned impair their capacity to exercise their parliamentary mandate freely and effectively, and therefore appreciates all the more the initiative taken by the House of Representatives to examine the question of harassment of party-list representatives; would appreciate  information about any conclusions and recommendations that may meanwhile have been adopted by the House Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights in this respect;

  9. Wishes lastly to ascertain whether any action has been taken and yielded results in the perjury case brought by the parliamentarians concerned against the complainants in the Nueva Ecija case;

  10. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities, including the National Human Rights Commission, and to the other parties concerned, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  11. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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