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Junking of murder raps vs ‘Makabayan 4’ lauded


Four leftist leaders dubbed as the “Makabayan 4” appeared yesterday after the Nueva Ecija court dismissed the murder charges filed against them as they vowed to continue fighting for other victims of political persecution.

The “Makabayan 4” consists of four former solons – former Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, and anti-poverty secretary Liza Maza – made their first appearance in a press briefing yesterday since an arrest warrant was issued against them last month.

The group, led by Ocampo, thanked their supporters on putting up a campaign to defend their innocence, adding that they were charged because they are critics of the administration.

Ocampo added that their fight against the oppression of the government was not a betrayal to the country, nor any form of crimes.

On Monday, Lawyer Rachel Pastores, legal counsel of the Makabayan 4, confirmed that the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 of Palayan City, Nueva Ecija has dismissed the murder charges filed against her clients in 2006 and the arrest warrants issued against them have been quashed or no longer in effect.

Based on the resolution dated Aug. 8, Presiding Judge Terese Wenceslao stated that the “evidence on hand absolutely fails to support a finding of probable cause against accused-movants.”

The case stemmed from the allegations that the left-leaning leaders were involved in the abduction and killing of two supporters of rival Akbayan partylist in 2003, and 2004. (Alexandria San Juan)