33 lawmakers denounce arrest warrants vs Liza Maza, 3 others

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 33 lawmakers signed a resolution expressing the “utmost concern” of the House of Representatives over the issuance of arrest warrants against former party-list representatives Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, Satur Ocampo, and Teddy Casiño. 

House Resolution 2064 was primarily filed on Thursday, August 9, by the following 7 lawmakers forming the House Makabayan bloc, the same group Maza, Mariano, Ocampo, and Casiño were part of:

“Now therefore, be it resolved that the House of Representatives express its utmost concern on the issuance of warrants of arrest for former Makabayan lawmakers Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, now National Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Maza and former Department of Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano, and implore the Palayan Regional Trial Court to reconsider the arrest order against the 4 legislators,” reads HR 2064.

The resolution denounces the arrest order issued on July 11 by Presiding Judge Evelyn Turla of the Regional Trial Court in Palayan, Nueva Ecija, reviving a 4-year-old case.

Turla argued probable cause was already found against Maza, Mariano, Ocampo, and Casiño – now being dubbed as the “Makabayan 4” – in the murder charges filed against them in 2006. 

But lawmakers said in HR 2064 that no explanation has been provided for the reversal of Turla’s order. 

“Law requires all judges to clearly explain their decisions or orders, with factual and legal basis, for fairness and due process…. To begin with, there might be no murder case as far as one supposed target, Jimmy Peralta, died in a vehicular accident, as attested by police spot reports,” said the legislators.

They added the alleged murder charges against the Makabayan 4 were already “discredited in different legal venues," like the Commission on Elections, Supreme Court, and the Regional Trial Court branches in Makati, Nueva Ecija, and Quezon City.

HR 2064 will still have to be referred to the appropriate committee during its first reading, and can either be approved or rejected at the committee level. If approved, the resolution will have to pass through its second and third readings before being adopted by the House plenary.

The Philippine National Police has launched a nationwide manhunt against the Makabayan 4. The Citizens' Crime Watch also offered a P1-million reward for any information on their whereabouts.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque urged Maza to surrender to authorities. 

Here is the complete list of lawmakers who signed HR 2064

Read the fully copy of HR 2064 below:

Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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