Statement on the order of Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina to dismiss the murder charges against political activists
I am happy that on December 16, 2021 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of Branch 32 of the Manila Regional Trial Court declared that for failure of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the fifteen (15) counts of murder in the Criminal Cases Nos. 08-262163 (formerly H-1581), 14306533 to 14306546 she therefore found meritorious the Demurrer to Evidence filed by Satur Ocampo , Rafael D. Baylosis. Adelberto A. Silva, Norberto Murillo Y Alpin, Dario Tomada, Oscar Belleza, Exuperio Lloren and Vicente Ladlad y Portades.
She ordered the dismissal of the aforesaid charges filed against the aforementioned accused as well as those against the following accused, who did not file their Demurrer to Evidence: Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria Tiamzon, Felomino Salazar. Presillano Beringel, Luzviminda Orillo and Felix Dumali. Murillo, Tomada, Belleza, Lloren, Silva, Ladlad, Salazar, Beringel, Orillo, Lubong and Dumali are hereby ordered released from detention unless they are incarcerated for some other legal cause/s.
I congratulate and thank all my co- accused and their competent lawyers for winning the case. I also benefit from the fact that the court granted the demurrer of evidence, which meant the failure of the prosecution to provide sufficient (credible and admissible) evidence that would merit further trial and, therefore, the court dismissed the charges already at this point and amounts to an acquittal. There is no way the chief fabricator of the charges, General Hermogenes Esperon, can overcome his own self-contradicting principal witnesses and the proven multiple sourcing and mix-up of scientifically unauthenticated skeletal remains of the presumed victims.
Although I am the chief respondent in the Criminal Cases Nos. 08-262163 (formerly H-1581), 14306533 to 14306546, dubbed as People of the Philippines versus Jose Maria Sison et al, the court has never gained jurisdiction over my person and I have never found it necessary to entertain the patently false charges against me. At the time of the supposed commission of the alleged crimes in 1984 and 1985, I was not holding any position in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines because I had been under maximum security detention at the Military Security Unit of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio since November 10, 1977 until the overthrow of Marcos in 1986. I was not in any position to discuss and decide with anyone and sign any order pertaining to the so-called Operation Venereal Disease.
Only a congenital liar like General Hermogenes Esperon has the temerity to recruit false witnesses and make false claims against publicly known facts about me. In another case, he also rigged against me also in the years of 2006-2007 in collaboration with the anti-communist psychopath Norberto Gonzales, then national security adviser of Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, when he supplied false witnesses to the Dutch National Prosecution Service in order to cause my arrest in The Netherlands and raids on other Filipino refugees on false murder charges. But Esperon proved to be a liar and incompetent in fabricating the false charges from behind the scenes. The Dutch courts were quite efficient in dismissing the charges.
I thank Judge Bunyi-Medina for the following findings, considerations and conclusions:
“As regards the alleged document which purportedly contained the order coming from the Central Committee of the CPP/NPA/NDF for the implementation the anti-VD campaign, Carlos Calatay’s account is also different from that of Glecerio Roluna’s, although both of them were claiming that they have seen and read the same. According to the former, this document was unsigned and rationalized the same, saying: ‘That was the practice in the movement whoever made that document, there was no signature.’ He also said that it was typewritten in a bond paper with staple wire and written in Tagalog. But as claimed by the latter, this document was signed by accused Jose Maria Sison as “KTKS by Armando Liwanag” which he thereafter changed into “KTKS signed Armando Guerrero” and again, amended the said name as “Amado Guerrero”. Also, he said, this order issued by the Central Committee was in a form of memorandum, one written in the Visayan language and another in English.”
“Overwhelming contrarieties and infirmities in the testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses. Noting the foregoing contrarieties and infirmities in the testimonies of these prosecution’s eye-witnesses, this Court finds that they are just so many to be ignored. Verily, all of these witnesses not only contradicted themselves in recollecting the events subject of these cases, their testimonies are likewise at loggerheads with the others. Of course, this being the case, this Court cannot determine who among them is telling the truth and which among their respective testimonies conform with reality. As such, their collective testimonies and the narrative they were trying to depict consequently suffer and thus, they deserve no evidentiary weight and value.”
“With respect to the other prosecution’s witnesses, this Court finds that it would already be unnecessary to discuss their testimonies because the facts elicited from the testimonies of the prosecution’s principal eyewitnesses are already sufficient to cloud the guilt of the accused-movants for these crimes.”
“In view of the foregoing disquisitions, it becomes undeniable that the prosecution had not been triumphant in establishing the first element of the crimes charged, that is, the herein fifteen (15) victims were actually killed, because it: 1. ) failed to scientifically prove that the subject skeletal remains exhumed in Mt. Sapang Dako, Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte on August 26-29, 2006 belong to the latter and 2.) the accounts of its eye-witnesses as regards how they were killed, who killed them and other surrounding circumstances behind their deaths are palpably unreliable.”
“In the mind of this Court, most compelling of the assertions interposed by the accused-movants is their claim that the some of the skeletal remains, subject of these cases, were also discovered on June 27 and 28, 2000 in Barangay Monterico, Baybay, Leyte and which were the subject of a case for Multiple Murder docketed as Criminal Case No. 2001- 6-51 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), 8th Judicial Region, Branch 18, Baybay, Leyte which had been previously dismissed by the said court. Specifically, accused-movants Murillo, Tomada and Belleza asserted that the instant cases are contrived and but a re-make of the story depicted by the prosecution in said case (Criminal Case No. 2001-6-51) wherein among the victims are Concepcion Aragon, Juanita Aviola, and Gregorio Eras who are incidentally three (3) of the victims in the instant cases.”
“Simply, this Court merely declares that the prosecution, with the nature of the testimonies of its witnesses and the pieces evidence they presented, failed to pass the exacting standard of moral certainty to discharge its burden of establishing the guilt of accused-movants to secure their conviction for the crimes charged and overcome their constitutional presumption of innocence.”
Finally, I welcome the following advice of the Honorable Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina to both the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of th Philippines:
“This Court would not venture to analyze, reconcile or even discuss the conflicting ideological principles that precipitate hostilities between the government and the rebel movement. But this is just to manifest its sincere and ardent wish that their respective leaders will endeavor to go back to the negotiating table and eventually forge a long-lasting peace agreement which will be mutually beneficial to them.”
The termination of the GRP-NDFP negotiations by the Duterte regime, the all-out war policy, the rampant state terrorism in the name of anti-terrorism, militarization of GRP civilian agencies, extrajudicial killings with impunity and military overspending without auditing have by themselves wrought havoc on the lives of the Filipino people and have been combined with the most brazen acts of puppetry to US and Chinese imperialism, plunder of unprecedented proportions since after the Marcos fascist regime, widening budgetary and trade deficits, mounting debt burden and the flagrantly absent or scarce attention to the people’s welfare at a time of high unemployment, soaring rate of inflation, prolonged pandemic and repealed natural calamities.
I warn Duterte against rigging the 2022 elections and placing power in the hands of the Marcos-Duterte tandem in order to continue the reign of greed and terror under Marcos-type and Duterte-type policies. If he succeeds at rigging the elections, Duterte will generate further crisis and popular resistance and will sink his own successors in the worsening crisis of the ruling system. He will fail to destroy the armed revolution but will inflame it further. It is desirable for the electorate to be able to elect a new GRP administration that is willing to resume the GRP-NDP peace negotiations in order to address urgent problems and the roots of the civil war and arrive at comprehensive social, economic and political reforms for the benefit of the Filipino people.###