Transfer of Olalia murder suspect to civilian jail ordered-A A +A
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A LOCAL court has ordered the transfer to a civilian jail of retired colonel Eduardo "Red" Kapunan, who was allegedly involved in the murder of a labor group leader 26 years ago.
The Antipolo Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 98 issued and served a four-page order dated October 23 that directs the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to transfer Kapunan to the Rizal Provincial Jail.
Kapunan, a former leader of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), is a suspect in the murder of lawyer Rolando Olalia, the then chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno, and his driver, Leonor Alay-ay, in November 1986.
He formally surrendered on October 6 at Fort Bonifacio and is currently under the Army's Custodial Management Unit.
Kapunan was arraigned last week while two former RAM soldiers will testify against him on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
The recent court order was praised by the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), an organization of Edre Olalia, legal counsel of Kapunan's alleged victims.
"We are relieved as this is the only correct thing to do," the NUPL said in its official Facebook account.
However, a radio report said the military shall defer Kapunan's ordered transfer since his lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration.
Olalia slammed the military's action, which he described as "not unexpected." He added that this has been done before "over and over again."
"They are not only defying a lawful order but this is inconsistent with their earlier public claim that they will comply. Why should they dribble the transfer on the pretext of a motion of an accused that they are not supposed to be representing?" said Olalia.
He said a motion by a private individual cannot be invoked by the military to not comply with the court order.
"We will let the facts speak eloquently for themselves," Olalia said.
The military has met criticisms for allegedly "keeping" Kapunan, who is one of its former officers.
"Kapunan continues to stay in the graces of the military that has neither the authority to arrest him, nor keep him or exercise any jurisdiction over him," the families of Olalia and Alay-ay earlier said in a statement.
"The rules command that criminals be booked by police officers and detained at the nearest jail," the statement added.
But the military has since claimed that while Kapunan is under its custody, no special treatment is being given to him. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)