CABANATUAN CITY – Four militants who were charged for murder of two persons in 2001 and 2004 were issued warrants recently for their arrest by Regional Trial Court Judge Evelyn Atienza-Turla in Palayan City, the capital of the province.
The four are anti-poverty chief Liza Maza, ex-agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano, ex-Bayan Muna Partylist representative Satur Ocampo, and Teddy Casiño.
They were charged before the RTC Branch 40 in Palayan City for the murders of farmers Danilo Felipe, Carlito Bayudang and Jimmy Peralta in 2001 and 2004, respectively.
It was alleged that the accused met with the officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines and decided to order the killing of the four.
It was not immediately known for what alleged crimes they were ordered killed.
But Turla ruled then that there was no probable cause to charge the four and ordered a further investigation.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor was ordered to conduct preliminary investigation as it was cited in legal moves that the proper procedure in conducting the preliminary investigation was not followed.
In 2017, the accused won a victory of sort as the Supreme Court, where they brought the case for questioning as “no probable cause was ruled by the judge”, partially granted them a ruling that the case should be sent back to the prosecutor for investigation and remanded it to the Palayan City RTC “for further proceedings with due and deliberate dispatch in accordance with this decision.”
Ocampo then issued a statement saying the case filed against them “deserves a second look in terms of justice and fairness.”
Maza, on her part, issued a statement denouncing what she called “continuing political persecution by rightists and militarists who yield influence in the administration under President Duterte.”
She added that the administration is trying to remove leftist leaders one by one.
Mariano said the case against them was “baseless, malicious, and fabricated” and demanded that charges be dropped.
Bayan Muna Party-list chairman Neri Colmenares said they are appealing not to implement the warrant of arrest while a motion for reconsideration is pending with the Palayan RTC.