Activist asks court to call Sen Arroyo

Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines — An activist who is one of those accused of the alleged 1985 murder of communist rebels suspected of being government spies in Leyte asked Manila Regional Trial Court branch 32 to summon Senator Joker Arroyo to testify on his behalf.

Vicente Ladlad wants Arroyo to testify that he could not have been involved in the alleged murders because he was detained in Camp Guillermo Nakar in Quezon province from 1983 to 1986, when he was released when then president Gorazon Aquino issued a presidential proclamation freeing all political prisoners after the EDSA revolution.

“Based on records we have, Senator Arroyo appeared and argued several times in court as Vic’s lead counsel,” lawyer Ernesto Francisco Jr., Ladlad’s counsel, said. “Senator Arroyo was the chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) during this period, in which capacity he acted as Vic’s lead counsel.”

The cases involved a rebellion case and another criminal case docketed in Calauag and Lucena City.

“Senator Arroyo is also a staunch defender of the President [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo], thus credible to the government,” added Francisco. “The DoJ [Department of Justice] shouldn’t object to his testimony.”

Ladlad wants the Manila court to dismiss the charges against him, filed after the discovery of human remains in a mass grave on Mt. Sapang Daku in Inopacan, Leyte, on Aug. 26, 2006.

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