‘Despite long journey to justice,’ CHR lauds conviction of 3 RAM members

Published October 13, 2021, 5:03 PM

by Jel Santos

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

Although it had been a long journey to attain justice, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, Oct. 13, welcomed the conviction of three members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) for the deaths of labor leader Rolando “Ka Lando” Olalia and his aide Leonor Alay-ay in 1986.

Judge Marie Claire Victoria Mabutas Sordan, of Branch 97 of the Antipolo City regional trial court (RTC), had sentenced RAM members Fernando Casanova, Dennis Jabatan and Desiderio Perez to a maximum of 40 years in jail without eligibility for parole in each of the two murder cases.

As such, the convicted murderers were ordered by the judge to pay the heirs of Olalia P1.2 million and those of Alay-ay’s P900,000 in civil, moral, exemplary and temperate damages.

“Though justice may have appeared to have been long-winded and at times elusive, their conviction is nonetheless a welcome action from the Philippine justice system in exacting accountability for the cruel crimes perpetrated,” CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.

The CHR hopes that the remaining accused members of RAM will be brought to account, De Guia said.

Records showed that the cases against the other accused – Carilo Almario, Jose Bacero, Richard Dicon, Gilbert Galicia, Oscar Legaspi, Filomeno Maligaya, Gene Paris, Freddie Sumagasay, and Edger Sumido – have been archived subject to reactivation once they are arrested and presented before the court for trial.

Olalia’s family had welcomed the ruling of the RTC even only three of the 13 accused were convicted.

Among the 13 accused, Col. Red Kapunan who is currently the Philippines’ Ambassador to Germany, was acquitted in 2016 after the court granted his demurrer to evidence which assailed the prosecution’s failure to show his guilt.