T5 Demands Equal Protection of Law, Decries Railroading of Case

August 14, 2006 at 3:30 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

Today, August 14, 2006, a new chapter unveils in the slow, tortuous saga of the Tagaytay 5 even as we continue to demand that the Arroyo government respect the constitutional provisions on due process and equal protection of law.
Today we come again to the sala of the Honorable Judge Edwin G. Larida, Jr. of the Tagaytay Regional Trial Court Branch 18 for our court-imposed arraignment on the rebellion case maliciously imputed upon us by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Prosecutors Office and the PNP Police Regional Office 4-Calabarzon and the Cavite Phipippine National Police (PNP).

It is with a heavy heart the we walk into the august sala of the Honorable Court, knowing perfectly well that we were unwilling victims of the PNP-AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) brazen abduction, Gestapo-like interrogation and incommunicado techniques, incriminatory machinations, and the DOJ’s utter disregard for human rights and due process of law.  As the case drags on, we are having more and better reasons to believe that the legal processes laid down to us are increasingly being stacked against us to effect a speedy conviction of ordinary unarmed citizens, who were caught in the maelstrom of Mrs. Arroyo’s action plan for political survival.  We are being forced to act out in a tragic moro-moro.
First, the DOJ central office took a direct hand in the prosecution of the case, sending to Tagaytay one of its aspiring prosecutors who will hew to DOJ’s clear prosecution bias against critics of the Arroyo regime or even unarmed civilians like the Tagaytay 5, despite the fact that there are competent fiscals in Tagaytay to handle the case.

Second, the PNP and DOJ forced the earlier Tagaytay prosecutors to conduct a moro-moro “inquest” proceedings in the dead of the night of May 2, 2006 so that the abductors of Tagaytay 5 could escape the liability of “illegal arrest” and arbitrary detention.
Third, the inquest fiscal in the night of May 2, 2006 was not even able to talk to or question the Tagaytay 5, but falsely certified that we have waived our right to inquest or preliminary investigation.
Fourth, the PNP and DOJ grievously erred in the belated filing of charges against us far way beyond the 36 hours mandatory time period for such filing which deprived us of our civil liberties.
The Court added another injury by legitimizing our continued illegal detention on the flimsy basis that: “They were riding on the same car when the arrest was effected” and “they are already detained anyway.”
Fifth, the Court ordered our arraignment today, in a notice dated July 19, despite the fact that the preliminary investigation was still ongoing at that time, its last hearing having been on July 26 and despite the fact that the formal report of said preliminary investigation was due only on August 8.
All these facts point to a callous conspiracy of DOJ and PNP to railroad our case to ensure much-needed “judicial victory” for the embattled regime and legitimize its culture of impunity.  All the rebellion cases being prosecuted by the DOJ’s Task Force Rebellion only bring back to memomy the fascist show trials in Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s and the hysterical anticommunist McCarthyite witchhunts in the United States during the 1950s.
We call on the Court to stand firm as a bulwark of civil liberties, judiciously exercise its independence and probity, and not to fall prey into the chicanery orchestrated by the DOJ-PNP to perpetuate a police state, wherein ultimately, the Courts will themselves be useless appendages just like under fascist dictatorships.
In the same vein, we challenge the Arroyo regime to genuinely exercise the equal protection of law – as equal as it protects privatization corruptors, fertilizer plunderers, and election cheaters.  Denying this, the regime only exposes its class bias and its political bias – that it can only cuddle thieves and highwaymen, and is aversive to the people’s cry for justice and freedom.
We believe that all freedom-loving Caviteños and Filipinos will be with us in this long and tortuous fight for justice.  They will keep an ever-vigilant watch on the Courts.
Tagaytay 5
14 August

Reference Person:  Laura Sarmiento
Mobile # 09272827028


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