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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 188th session
(Panama, 20 April 2011)

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 at the time the communication was submitted, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/188/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 187th session (October 2010),

Taking into account the information provided by the Executive Director of the Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Special Affairs Bureau of the House of Representatives by letter dated 28 March 2011, as well as the letter from Rep. Casiño of 12 April and the information provided by the sources on 21 March 2011,

Recalling the following: in February 2006 the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) established under the previous government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to prepare cases of rebellion and sedition against suspected enemies of the State, laid charges of rebellion against the persons concerned, all being members of parliament at the time; the Supreme Court dismissed them in July 2007, holding that they were based on political considerations; since then new criminal cases were brought against them (also called the “Batasan Four”); one of them, filed by a “self-confessed rebel returnee” with the Commission for Elections (COMELEC) alleging that Rep. Ocampo and Liza Maza committed “acts of terrorism to enhance their candidacy”, which is a ground for disqualifying a candidate from standing in elections, was dismissed on 19 July 2010, COMELEC holding that the allegations made were unsubstantiated,

Noting that the following cases are still pending and have not been proceeding:

  • 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 dismissal of the case for lack of probable cause was denied and the petition before the Supreme Court against that decision is still awaiting resolution; according to the information 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 parliamentary 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 10 days after the preliminary investigation whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial;

  • On 19 May 2009, theprosecutor had suspended the preliminary investigation into a twin murder charge against former Rep. Ocampo pending the Supreme Court’s decision on his petition for certiorari and prohibition in a multiple murder case brought against him in February 2007; on 5 July 2010, the prosecutor resolved those cases, deciding to dismiss one and to file an indictment in the second concerning the murder of Guillermo Daguing; on 4 August 2010, Mr. Ocampo filed a motion seeking outright dismissal for complete lack of evidence against him; on 10 November 2010 the judge ordered suspension of proceedings in the case,
Considering that by Executive Order No. 808 of 15 May 2009, the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) was abolished, pursuant to earlier recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,

Bearing in mind that the Secretary of Justice, in a letter of 1 October 2010, gave assurances that the new administration under President Benigno S. Aquino III would ensure that the IPU’s concerns in this case were properly addressed,

  1. Thanks the House of Representatives for the information provided;

  2. Notes with satisfaction that IALAG has been abolished and considers that this will make it more difficult to subvert the judicial process for political ends;

  3. Considers that there are serious grounds for believing that the cases still pending against the persons concerned are - like the rebellion and electoral disqualification cases - not based on sound evidence;

  4. Is therefore dismayed that these cases have remained at a standstill, thus not only leaving the persons concerned in a state of uncertainty for too long but also disserving the interests of justice; affirms that this is all the more grave in the case of members of parliament, who must be able to exercise their mandate freely;

  5. Recalls the fundamental principle that justice delayed is justice denied and that anyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to be tried without undue delay; urges the authorities therefore either to proceed without delay in these cases or to dismiss the charges forthwith;

  6. Calls on the House of Representatives to exercise its oversight function so as to ensure respect for this principle and prevent these cases from dragging on any longer;

  7. Remains confident that the administration under President Benigno Aquino III will make every effort to ensure proper administration of justice, and would be grateful for information on any initiatives that may have been taken to ensure that its concerns in this case are properly addressed;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities and to the sources;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 125th IPU Assembly (October 2011).
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