Bayan Muna chairman and former Rep. Neri Colmenares denounced the warrant of arrest against his former lawmaker colleagues based on an incredible and preposterous murder plot concocted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
An arrest warrant was issued last July 11 by Judge Evelyn Turla of the Palayan RTC for former Bayan Muna congressmen Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino, as well as former Gabriela Women’s Party representative and now National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) chairperson Liza Maza and former Anakpawis partylist representative and former Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano among others, for the trumped-up charge of double murder in Nueva Ecija.
According to Colmenares, “the allegation that the four ordered and directed CPP/NPA leaders in Central Luzon ‘to liquidate former CPP/NPA members supporting Akbayan because of its effect on Bayan Muna’ is incredible, preposterous and an outright lie.”
“Said lie is being peddled by false witnesses under AFP control, Juliano Alvaro and Julie Flores Sinohin, who tried in vain to link the four legislators to the killing of Jimmy Peralta on Dec. 23, 2003 and Carlito Bayudang on May 6, 2004,” Colmenares averred.
According to Colmenares, “the witnesses used by the military were clearly lying. Their allegations that Bayan Muna threatened them for not supporting the said party in the 1998 elections is immediately exposed as a lie because Bayan Muna did not exist in 1998 and was only registered for the 2001 elections.
“The concocted story and motives to kill for electoral purposes defy facts and logic. Bayan Muna garnered 1.7 million votes in the 2001 while Akbayan only got 357,274 votes. Bayan Muna is way above the threshold to gain 3 seats; it had surplus votes of half a million. Akbayan was nowhere near being a threat to Bayan Muna’s victory in the May 2004 elections,” said Colmenares.
“More importantly, as a matter of principle and in its actual practice, Bayan Muna along with other members of the Makabayan bloc, does not and have never resorted to killing its opponents for any reason whatsoever, least of all to win in elections,” he stressed.
Colmenares moreover stated, “In no way can the four lawmakers command or direct the alleged CPP- NPA regional and provincial leadership. They were full time legislators then and neither leaders nor members of the CPP/NPA”.
“It must be remembered that Bayan Muna leaders and members were in fact extra-judicially killed by state forces during this period even as the AFP engaged in a vicious campaign of vilification and red tagging against Bayan Muna,” he added.
“The COMELEC even junked a disqualification petition filed against Bayan Muna using this same fabricated kill plot,” he said
“To top it all,” Colmenares said, “Bayan Muna won a P380,000 civil suit against these false witnesses for their perjured testimonies on the two murder cases at the Palayan RTC.”
Colmenares called on Judge Evelyn Turla to reconsider and withdraw her unjust ruling. He further called on the Duterte government to cause the withdrawal of these trumped-up charges against Ocampo, Maza, Casiño and Mariano and all the accused through its Justice Department”, ended Colmenares.###