IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  


Resolution unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 186th session
(Bangkok, 1 April 2010)

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/186/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 185th session (October 2009),

Recalling that, in January 2006, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Executive Order 493 establishing the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) to prepare cases of rebellion and sedition against suspected enemies of the State, and that, in this context, the parliamentarians concerned were charged with rebellion in February 2006; that the Supreme Court dismissed the charges on 1 June 2007 and concluded that "the obvious involvement of political considerations in the accusations of the respondent Secretary of Justice and respondent prosecutors brings to mind an observation we made in another equally politically charged case. We reiterate what we stated then, if only to emphasize the importance of maintaining the integrity of criminal prosecutions in general and preliminary investigations in particular. 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",

Considering that since then new criminal cases have been brought against the parliamentarians concerned (also called the "Batasan Four") and considering more particularly the following:

  • In the so-called "Nueva Ecija" murder cases, being dealt with by two different courts, the courts had before them extrajudicially obtained testimonies; the competent court in one of the cases dismissed it, while the court in the other case ordered a new investigation; a motion seeking the dismissal of the case for lack of probable cause was denied and the appeal against that decision is still awaiting resolution; according to the information and documentation supplied by the National Commission on Human Rights, extrajudicially obtained confessions or testimonies cannot be used in court unless supported by other evidence or given under circumstances which ensure that they were made voluntarily;

  • In May 2007, four days before the legislative elections, Representative Casiño was charged with obstructing justice by allegedly preventing the arrest of a person; the case has not since been proceeding although, according to the Court Rules, the investigating officer shall determine within ten days after the preliminary investigation whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial;

  • On 6 December 2009, a reportedly "self-confessed rebel returnee" filed a petition with the Commission for Elections (COMELEC) alleging that Rep. Ocampo committed "acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy", which is a ground for disqualifying a candidate from standing in elections. According to the source, the petitioner attempted to establish links between Rep. Ocampo and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (NPA), but failed to establish the alleged acts of terrorism. The source affirms that the petition is a "rehash" of the former rebellion case. On 9 February 2010, COMELEC dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which is pending;

  • On 6 December 2009, a reportedly self-confessed rebel returnee filed a disqualification case against Liza Maza on the same grounds as in the case of Rep. Ocampo. The petitioner alleged her party's supposed association with the New People's Army (NPA) and alleged that her party was a terrorist organization. On 11 February 2010, COMELEC dismissed the petition for lack of factual and legal bases,
Recalling with respect to the disqualification cases that petitions for the disqualification of the political parties to which the parliamentarians concerned belong had been brought before the May 2007 elections and were dismissed for lack of merit in June 2007,

Recalling also that, in his report of 29 April 2009 (A/HRC/11/2/Add.8), the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions reiterated his earlier recommendation that the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) be abolished; considering in this respect that, according to the information provided by the House of Representatives on 17 March 2010, House Resolution No. 881, "Directing the Committee on Justice to Conduct an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation on the Impact of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) on the Administration of Justice in the Country", was adopted by the plenary and the inquiry is pending,

  1. Thanks the House of Representatives for its cooperation;

  2. Observes that the newdisqualification cases brought against Representatives Ocampo and Maza can only reinforce its belief that the parliamentarians in question are the target of an ongoing effort to hinder their activities and eliminate them from politics;

  3. Observes thatthis is also evidenced by the fact that the obstruction of justice case against Representative Casiño, brought against him before the May 2007 elections, is still not resolved now that he is again standing in the legislative elections to be held this year; considers this to be a gross violation of his right to prompt consideration of his case and urges the authorities to proceed without delay or to dismiss the charge forthwith;

  4. Can only recall what the Supreme Court stated when dismissing the rebellion case against the parliamentarians concerned, namely 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";

  5. Remains perplexed at the different decisions reached by two courts regarding the same accusation based on extrajudicially obtained testimony: dismissal of the case in one instance and launching of a new investigation in the other; would appreciate receiving information as to the reasons the court advanced for ordering a new investigation instead of dismissing the case;

  6. Commends the House of Representatives for its initiative in following up on the recommendation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and would appreciate receiving information on the work done by the Justice Committee following the adoption of House Resolution 881;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and the sources and to the United Nations Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions;

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 123rd IPU Assembly (October 2010).
Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 122nd IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 649K approximately). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader