Tuesday, May 30, 2006


CODAL is seriously concerned over the Executive department’s continuing disrespect for the judiciary and the legislature. The failure of AFP and PNP officials to appear in the Congressional investigation on the warrantless arrest of the “Erap 5” supporters is not only an attack against the Senate but the Supreme Court as well.

The Supreme Court has unanimously declared EO 464 unconstitutional and principles of good faith and equity dictate that the said executive order be accorded no legal effect unless the Supreme Court reverses its decision upon motion for reconsideration of the government. PNP and AFP officers are therefore administratively and criminally liable for refusing to appear in the Senate investigation. The refusal of Pres. Arroyo to allow her subordinates to attend senate hearings shows bad faith, a strong evidence that she committed the impeachable offense of culpable violation of the Constitution in issuing and implementing EO 464. Not only did she impose a series of unconstitutional policies but continue to impose them despite being unanimously declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Continuing Cover-up in the Political Killings

The refusal of Pres. Arroyo in accepting responsibility, at least in resolving the killing of militants, and shifting the blame to the rebels absent any evidence of the same show further disrespect to the intelligence of the Filipino people. CODAL condemns the murder of Noli Capulong, the brother of CODAL member Atty. Emil Capulong, as another proof of the executive’s intolerance of any form of dissent. The PNP and the AFP cannot claim CPP-purge as the culprit in the escalating violence on the following grounds:

There are evidence and witnesses that point to the government as the perpetrators of these crimes. Witnesses have for example directly identified AFP personnel such as Lt. Wilbert Basquinas and Gen. Jovito Palparan as responsible for the abduction of a Bayan Muna supporter in Samar. There are many more direct eyewitnesses in other cases now pending before the courts or the CHR. The government has not presented any witness to disprove these except to deny knowledge or responsibility.

The PNP or AFP has not presented any evidence or motive to prove their claims of a CPP purge. Innuendos and leap in conclusions based on the previously reported CPP killings way back in 1992 cannot be the basis of such conclusion in any court of law. On the other hand, the fact that ALL the victims and their relatives point to the government as culprits while not one of the victims point to the CPP as the culprits, is substantial proof of government culpability in any court.

Despite charges and cases filed against AFP personnel since 2001 regarding the political killings, they have not claimed CPP purge as their defense. They have only claimed it, as an afterthought, after the political killings were publicized recently. If the CPP was responsible for the killings since 2001, it is impossible for the government not to have found out or even claim such findings in their investigations.

The pattern and modus operandi of the killers point to the government as perpetrators. Firstly, the victims, including the party list groups, were publicly condemned by government as communists or ‘enemies of the state’. Secondly, the target is subjected to intense surveillance by persons identified by witnesses and victims themselves as military personnel. Thirdly, the killing is done with impunity, at times near military camps, with the perpetrators showing no fear of being arrested. Fourthly, the failure of government institutions to investigate and prosecute the killers despite demand for government action. In fact, Pres. Arroyo has failed to condemns the killings until now, despite being pressed by the victims to do so since 2001. It is impossible for the CPP to have so much power as to conduct these daring killings of more than 600 victims for five years all over the country with the police not having any leads or suspects, much less cases filed in court.

CODAL clarifies that circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict an accused if the same is corroborated by other circumstantial evidence. In the case of political killins, there are direct and circumstantial evidence pointing to government responsibility.
Disrespect of the judiciary and breakdown of law and order

CODAL finds the Executive Branch’s continuing disrespect of Congress and the Supreme Court alarming as it virtually destroys the checks-and-balance principle of the Constitution through the three co-equal branches of government.

The refusal of executive officials to attend the Senate investigation, despite the Supreme Court’s declaration that EO 464 is unconstitutional further highlights the danger of another constitutional crisis, this time between the Executive on one hand and both the Senate and the Supreme Court on the other.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, BIR Commissioner Jose Bunag and Trade Secretary Peter Favila, PNP and AFP officials who all disregarded Senate summons to attend a hearing, are liable under Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code which states that :

Art. 150—The penalty of arresto mayor…shall be imposed upon any person who, having been duly summoned by Congress, its special or standing committees, subcommittees or before any committee chairman or member authorized to summon witnesses, REFUSES, without legal excuse, (i) to obey such summons or being present before any such legislative or constitutional body..(iii) to answer any legal inquiry or to produce papers, documents or records in his possession.

The same penalty shall be imposed upon any person who shall …induce disobedience to a summons…

Pres. Arroyo’s and her subordinates’ continuing refusal to follow the Supreme Court decision
makes them criminally liable under Article 231 and Article 241 of the Revised Penal Code, for openly disobeying the orders of the Constitution and the Supreme Court decisions in EO 464:

Art. 231. Open disobedience. - Any judicial or executive officer who shall openly refuse to execute the judgment, decision or order of any superior authority made within the scope of the jurisdiction of the latter and issued with all the legal formalities, shall suffer the penalties of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period, temporary special disqualification in its maximum period and a fine not

Art. 241. Usurpation of judicial functions. - The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any officer of the executive branch of the Government who … shall obstruct the execution of any order or decision rendered by any judge within his jurisdiction

CODAL is concerned that the Executive continues to insist that the people follow the rule of law, while allowing its officials to violate the very rule of law they vow to impose on the people.

CODAL is alarmed at the Executive department’s arrogance, unaccountability and complete disregard of the orders of the Supreme Court and the Senate, all of which were legally and constitutionally issued. We ask the Supreme Court and the Senate to hold these officials in contempt subject to the filing of criminal and administrative cases against them, in order to recover that respect for the checks-and-balance principles under the Constitution and at the same time protect the people’s right to information and expression.

CODAL is inviting lawyers from all over the country to help out in its “Project Battle Impunity” which will list all possible cases against various government officials, particularly the AFP and PNP, and file the same in court. It asks lawyers to give pro-bono services in the prosecution of these officials criminally, civilly and administratively in various tribunals in the hope of battling the culture of impunity perpetrated by these unbridled political killings.

Reference Person : Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares--Spokesperson
Date : 30 May 2006