1. Why did the counsels expose Satur Ocampo to arrest before the SC could act on their petition for a TRO? This was their basic error. They knew the PNP would surely arrest Satur Ocampo because their duty to arrest in view of the judicial warrant was purely MINISTERIAL in nature.Related post at Philippine Commentary is The Killing Fields Come to Haunt the Killers.
2. Satur Ocampo's argument, to the effect that he had an "arrangement" with Sec. Puno, or some other high officials, does not hold any water. The duty of the executive officials to enforce the judicial warrant, being ministerial in nature, they had absolutely NO DISCRETION to deviate from the established procedure of promptly presenting Satur Ocampo before the Trial Court that issued the warrant. The error of the argument lies in their failure to distinguish between (a) a MINISTERIAL, from (b) a DISCRETIONARY DUTY. In effect, they were insisting that the ministerial officers exercise legal discretion which the latter do not have.
3. The proof of Satur Ocampo's error consists of: (a) the SC's refusal to issue a TRO, and (b) the defense counsel's act of going to the Trial Court AFTER Satur Ocampo's arrest. If there was no error, the SC would have most likely issued the requested TRO, in which case there would have been no need for Satur Ocampo's counsel to rush to the Trial Court.
4. Did the RTC judge act in accordance with law when he granted Satur Ocampo's urgent motion to stop the immediate transfer of the custody over his person from the Manila police to the Hilongos RTC? No. Reasons:
a) The act was done without giving the prosecution (People of the Philippines) an opportunity to be heard or to object. Therefore, the prosecution was deprived of its right to due process.
b) The physical presence of Satur Ocampo before the SC for the hearing set on Friday is not absolutely necessary under the Rules of Court. Why? First, the SC resolution which set Satur Ocampo's petition for hearing on Friday does not require his attendance. His lawyer's appearance is sufficient. Whatever arguments Satur Ocampo may raise personally can be better expressed by his lawyers. Second, the petition is NOT for habeas corpus where the petitioner's body is required to be presented in court. Thiird Satur Ocampo is already under arrest. His being in jail is a matter of due course. To give him the privilege of personally attending the hearing of his petition before the SC would constitute preferential or discriminatory treatment which is anathema to the Equal Protection Clause under the Constitution. Other prisoners who are similarly situated are not given that privilege.
c) The fact that the SC did not grant any TRO against Satur Ocampo's arrest ought to have been taken by the Trial Court as a clearance for it to exercise its jurisdiction over (a) the person of Satur Ocampo, and (b) the criminal case - in accordance with its own discretion.
5. Did Satur Ocampo invoke any amnesty in his petition? It does not seem so. The matter of the amnesty was raised in media by Joker Arroyo.
6. Amnesty is a matter of defense which must be invoked by the accused in the criminal case. Therefore, Satur Ocampo should raise the defense of amnesty before the Trial Court, not before the SC.
7. Amnesty applies to political offenses or crimes committed in furtherance of the political offense of rebellion or treason. Is the crime of murder such a political offense? No. Homicide may be. But not murder.
8. Did Satur Ocampo apply for amnesty under President Aquino's term? If he did, he is deemed to have confessed guilt for the crimes covered by the amnesty. If he did not, then he cannot invoke amnesty as a defense in the criminal case.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The Supreme Court has ordered the continued detention at the Manila Police Dept. of the arrested multiple murder suspect Satur Ocampo (Congress representative of the leftist Bayan Muna party list organization) as it postponed oral arguments on his pleading for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to March 28. The multiple charges against Satur Ocampo and 52 others, including Jose Maria Sison, stemmed from the discovery of a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte last year and the testimonies made by former rebels who survived the purges. Lawyer Alan Paguia has the legal analysis for Philippine Commentary, including some interesting comments on the matter "amnesty" which Mr. Ocampo's "human rights" supporters (like the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) in the Mass Media and the Punditocracy may wish to take note of with the chagrin and disappointment that they had coming... (via email)--
Posted By: Deany Bocobo
On Thursday, March 22, 2007
On Thursday, March 22, 2007