Saturday, February 17, 2018

SolGen wants Reds back behind bars

From the Philippine Star (Feb 18): SolGen wants Reds back behind bars

The Office of the Solicitor General has sought a reversal of a Manila regional trial court (RTC) order denying the prosecution’s motion to put back in jail communist peace negotiator Rafael Baylosis, who faces a murder trial for the alleged communist purge in the 1980s.

In her Feb. 1 order, Manila RTC Branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina said she could not cancel Baylosis’ bail because it had been granted by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2012.

But in his motion for reconsideration, Solicitor General Jose Calida said it is the Manila court that has jurisdiction over Baylosis’ bail, citing its Aug. 12, 2016 order which fixed it at P150,000.

Baylosis last appeared before the Manila court for his arraignment, just days after the SC cancelled the bond he posted in 2007 for jumping bail. 

He surfaced from hiding following renewed confidence in the peace talks between the government and the communists at the time.

Calida cited Baylosis’ arrest in Quezon City for allegedly possessing illegal firearms and explosives as a compelling reason for the court to also order his arrest.

An alleged acting secretary of the New People’s Army (NPA), Baylosis remains detained at Camp Crame after being caught in possession of illegal firearms and explosives last Jan. 31.

“Having been caught in the act of committing a crime, this gives impetus and legal reason for the court to cancel his bail and to order his immediate arrest,” Calida said.

Meanwhile, Baylosis’ co-accused Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Wilma and Benito Tiamzon are at large after the Manila court last Jan. 11 cancelled their bail bond. They had also been released from detention to participate in the peace talks.

Calida also sought the cancellation of the bail bond of communist peace negotiators Vicente Ladlad and Randall Echanis, who were earlier allowed by the SC to post bail to participate in the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Calida said their bail should be revoked following President Duterte’s cancellation of the peace talks with the CPP-NDF.

He said their release on bail was only allowed conditionally due to their role in the peace negotiations.

To convince the RTC in ordering the communist leaders’ arrest, Calida cited an ambush by the NPA last Nov. 9 in Talakag, Bukidnon that killed a four-month-old baby and a police officer.

“In view of the termination of the peace negotiations with the NDF-CPP-NPA, the accused, who were granted provisional liberty for purposes of their participation in the peace talks, should be recommitted to jail and their respective bonds should likewise be automatically cancelled,” Calida’s motion read.

The communist leaders’ murder charges stemmed from their role in the alleged communist purge in the 1980s, following the discovery of a mass grave in Leyte in 2006.

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