Olalia family fights on 27 years after murder

by Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 02 2013 04:39 PM | Updated as of May 03 2013 12:39 AM

Col. Kapunan admits to surveillance, but not to murder

MANILA – Almost 27 years since the murder of labor leader Rolando “Ka Lando” Olalia and his driver, Leonor Alay-ay, their families are still fighting to attain justice.

“May pagod na rin. Alam naman nila na yung paghahabol ng katarungan walang prescriptive period. Walang taning yan,” said Atty. Edre Olalia, one of the private prosecutors in the double murder case.

In an interview with Korina Sanchez on DZMM, Olalia said that Ka Lando’s family still religiously attends hearings and actively participates in the preparations for trials.

The labor leader, then chairman of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Alay-ay were abducted, tortured and killed in November 1986.

“Matatandaan natin na agad-agad may mga suspect na inilabas ang NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) pero lumalabas na hindi naman sila ang may kagagawan kaya na-dismiss yung kaso sa una,” explained Atty. Olalia.

Twelve years later, or in 1998, two members of the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabayan (RAM), who allegedly participated in the surveillance and abduction of Olalia and Alay-ay, surfaced. They are Sgts. Medardo Barretto and Eduardo Bueno.

“Yun ang naging hudyat kung kaya nagumpisa ulit ang kaso,” explained Olalia.

Olalia said that based on the court testimony of Barreto he pointed out the alleged participation of Col. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan.

“Yung inutusan siyang tulungan ang isang kasamahan doon sa surveillance kay Ka Lando. Pangalawa, doon sa paglinis doon sa mga kotse na ginamit doon sa surveillance at abduction,” Olalia said.

Aside from Kapunan, 12 others were implicated in the double murder case. They are Oscar Legaspi, Ricardo Dicon, Cirilo Almario, Filomeno Crizaldo Maligaya, Edger Sumido, Jose Bacera, Jr., Dennis Jabatan, Freddie Sumagaysay, Fernando Casanova, Gene Paris, Gilberto Galicia, and Desiderio Perez.

Olalia said the case was delayed as the defense elevated their plea from the DOJ to the Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court.

“Ang defense, yung kanyang mga counsel, inakyat ng inakyat yung kanilang kaso mula sa DOJ umakyat sa Court of Appeals, na natigil doon ng 3 taon. Umakyat sa Supreme Court at nanatili doon ng 8 taon. Ibinaba sa regional trial court ng Antipolo, medyo nagpasa-pasahan, and for different reasons, walang gustong humawak until finally itong February 2012 ay naglabas na ng warrant of arrest itong si Judge (Maria Consejo) Ignalaga,” he said.

He also stressed that the amnesty granted to RAM does not cover the double murder case.

“Yung grant ng amnesty, on the record, March 1995. Ibig sabihin yan general amnesty na yan does not cover itong pagpatay kay Ka Leonor at Ka Lando,” he said.

Kapunan, who is currently detained at the NBI, was cross-examined last Tuesday. He admitted ordering the surveillance on the labor leader but denied his participation in the murder of Olalia and Alay-ay.

'Kapunan no longer in special ops'

In the same radio interview, Kapunan’s legal counsel and sister-in-law, Atty. Lorna Kapunan also wants “the truth to come out”.

Atty. Kapunan said that at the time the crime was committed, her client was no longer in the special operations unit and they were able to prove this by showing a deed of transfer.

“He was already transferred to another unit which was an anti-terrorist unit which he was asked to start and to train people,” said Kapunan.

Kapunan, she said, graduated as a pilot from the Philippine Military Academy. But his professional assignment at the Department of National Defense was intelligence work.

She explained that during the time of Corazon Aquino, her government was facing many challenges. “Mayroon intelligence that the Cory government was favoring the leftist elements and vice versa.

“Part of the surveillance for national security purpose was to put under surveillance certain individuals and these included Ka Olalia who was head then of the labor movement and certain secretaries or ministers of government then among them is [Labor] Secretary Bobit Sanchez,” she said.

She, however, clarified that the surveillance was not an operation singled out at individuals. “Surveillance lang. As a matter of fact, nung lumipat si Col. Kapunan sa kanyang bagong unit, he was no longer part of the special operations unit”.

She added, “Walang lumabas sa testimony na he ordered the assassination, killing, entrapment, cover up.”

“Regardless of whether amnesty was applicable or not, Red Kapunan had no participation at all in this alleged double murder,” she maintained.