June 5, 2017

DEC 10 2009

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you very much, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker. To our source persons who are here this afternoon, magandang hapon po sa kanilang lahat.

Just a prelimenary statement, Mr. President, before we proceed with the questions. We are all interested in the justice for the massacre of 57 of our citizens in Maguindanao, Mr. President. This is a big blot, a terrible tragedy in our country and therefore, we would like to see how through our questions and as well as our interpellations, how something like this can be or should be avoided. What actions have been taken, if the actions taken are in fact to insure that we avoid repeat of this terrible tragedy, Mr. President. And of course, we are discussing here primarily and mainly, whether or not the proclamation of martial law has legal basis. And we begin with that, Mr. President.

Yesterday, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Secretary Ermita, when he was being interpellated by Congressman Lagman, admitted, and I quote: “You may be correct, there is no actual rebellion going on.” On the other hand, Mr. President, Secretary Devanadera, on a later interpellation, asserted that she arrived at the conclusion that in fact there was an actual rebellion going on. So, just for the record, so that we are not confused as to whether or not there is actually rebellion going on or that there is no actual rebellion going on, may we have a categorical statement. Is there an actual rebellion going on or not? Perhaps Secretary Ermita…

MR. ERMITA. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Your Honor, I would wish to admit that this Representation happens not to be a lawyer, and therefore when I was asked the question as to whether there was actual rebellion or not, maybe it is highly probable that the position I have taken when I said there was no actual rebellion. I may be referring to actual uprising, actual fighting and actual violence going on the ground. And so, that was the context under which I said there was no actual rebellion. But since it appears, especially before this august Chamber composed of legal luminaries, I would suggest and I would like to request, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Your Honor, that I would defer to the position to be taken and explained further by the Secretary of Justice. I would repeat, Your Honor, that is the context under which I said when i replied to the question of Congressman Lagman that there was no rebellion.

Thank you very much.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And so, for the record, can we have again a reiteration of the position taken by the Secretary of Justice. There is an actual rebellion going on.

MS. DEVANADERA. Mr. Senate President, MR. Speaker, Your Honor, I reiterate our position, there was actual rebellion at the time of the declaration of martial law, because in accordance with jurisprudence People vs Cube, People vs Perez, actual clash of arms is not necessary in committing rebellion through rising publicly and taking or arms against government. what we have as shown and reported by our military and PNP, is that the rebel and armed groups where in strategic offensive positions in Mindanao. That is our position, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. You have made a citation that actual taking up of arms is not necessary so that a rebellion – can you clarify that?

MS. DEVANADERA. Actual clash, Your Honor. Clash.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Can you repeat that, please, an actual clash?

MS. DEVANADERA .Actual clash of arms is not necessary, Your Honor. Like, as we think of encounters, actual firing of guns between government troops and the rebel groups. That is the essence, Your Honor, of the jurisprudence enunciated by People vs Cube and People vs Perez.

SEN. PANGILINAN. But your own report, but your own report, I am a bit confused.

SEN. PANGILINAN. I am a bit confused, Secretary, but the report if the President quotes that “after finding that lawless elements have taken up arms and committed public uprising, “can you clarify that, please?
MS. DEVANADERA. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Your Honor ,…

SEN. PANGILINAN. So taking up arms and committed public uprising is rebellion even if there are no actual clash?

MS. DEVANADERA Actual firing, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. That is interesting.

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes, that is in the jurisprudence. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. What yean were the-anyway, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, we will continue with our questions. I will go on to another matter. So there have been no armed clashes and hostilities, is that right? Since prior to the declaration of martial law and up until today, five or 10 days after the declaration, there have been no armed clashes, no hostilities between the so called rebels and our AFP and PNP, is that correct?

MS. DEVANADERA. I would like to appeal to the record of our PNP and AFP. Your Honor, because what I am referring…

SEN. PANGILINAN. Since they are here, perhaps they can answer the question.

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Have there been armed clashes, hostilities that have erupted as between the so called rebels and our forces?

GEN. VERZOSA. Yes, Your Honor. there was an actual encounter between elements of the Special Action Force and the armed group at Datu Unsay Municipality three days ago.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And, how many casualties?

GEN. VERZOSA. We had no casualties, with undetermined on the enemy’s side. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And, are there other clashes apart from this?

GEN. VERZOSA. None, that I know, Your Honor. but there was firing of arms during our investigation on the recovery of firearms.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Undetermined … if I may just proceed. Undetermined
number of casualties in the rebel side?

GEN. VERZOSA. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Casualties will include deaths and injuries. Were there any deaths?

GEN. VERZOSA. None, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. This is with the PNP-SAF?

GEN. VERZOSA. Yes, Your Honor, Special Action Force.

SEN. PANGILINAN. May we have perhaps a response from the AFP, how I many armed clashes, i any, hostilities, casualties as between our forces and the so called rebels

GEN. IBRAM. At the moment, Your Honor, we have not engaged the armed groups.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, no engagement on the part of the armed forces and one engagement between our SAF and the so called rebels.

GEN. IBRADO. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. With no casualties, undetermined. Okay. Are we well. Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, I would like to bring us back to the year 2000. March 2000, MILF rebels numbering 700 attacked army camps, nine army camps. raided the Kauswaaan town hall. held 400 civilians hostages. Resulting in-this attack resulted in 36 people killed and some 180,000 displaced persons.Would you say, Secretary Devanadera, that there was in this case an armed public uprising? This was March 2000.


SEN. PANGILINAN. They took over the Kauswaaan town hall. I only have a few minutes. so I hope we will be listening when I raise my points.

MS. DEVANADERA. Okay, okay. Yes, yes. Your Honor. I am sow.

SEN. PANGILINAN. 400 hostages civilians, 700 MILF rebels raided nine army camps in Kauswagan and other areas in that region. Would you say that was an armed public uprising?

MS. DEVANADERA. I would say that…

SEN. PANGILINAN. 36 were killed.

MS. DEVANDERA. Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Then, yes. So it was an armed public uprising. Was martial law declared then? No. 36 killed. We go to 2001. November 2001, in Sulu and Zamboanga. some 200 MNLF fighters launched mortar attacks on military camps in Sulu. over 160 people were killed, this was the MNLF and eventually Nor Missuari was accused of rebellion. November 2001. Would you say this was an armed public uprising in the context, in the definition of rebellion?

MS. DEVANADERA. In the context …

(PO -The Senate President and the Speaker)

MS. DEVANADEW. In the context of imposition of martial law, Your Honor?

SEN. PANGILINAN. Whether there was an anned public apprising. wherein 160 people were killed, MNLF, 200 rebels attacking a camp, is that anarmed …

MS. DEVANADERA. That was armed. Your Hanor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. But martial law was not declared then, November 2001. Finally. August 16, 2008 onwards. North Cotabato. 1,500 MlLF rebels led by Umbra Kato and Kumander Bravo occupied 20 barangays in several towns. burning homes. looting farms. causing displacement of 280.000 people. at least 40 people were killed. They attacked these villages. Would you say there was an armed public apprising?

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Was martial law declared?

MS. DEVANADERA. No, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Going back to the current situation …


SEN. PANGILINAN. Going back to the current situation, no clashes as far as the armed forces is concerned. One clash, with the respect to the SAF, with the so called ‘rebels.” since martial law was declared, even prior to martial law declaration, there were no clashes. Where is the armed public uprising? Where is the basis to say that there is a rebellion? In addition, are we not correct to say that rebels have not attacked any government installations?

MS. DEVANADERA. May I answer.

SEN. PANGILINAN. I guess that is … I supposed it has been answered because there were only clashes with the–one clash with the SAF, so no attacks a of government installations, no raiding of any military or police camps, no physical taking over by the rebels of movement offices. Mr. President, we put that, Mr. Speaker. we say this, precisely, because we feel and we believe, given the incidents in the last several years-Kauswagan in 2000. Nur Misuari in Jolo and Zamboanga in 2001. Kato and Bravo in 2006- clearly, there were public uprisings, clearly these were armed, people were killed. Yet in all three instances, there was no declaration of martial law. Now we come to 2009, Mr. President, one clash between the SAF and so-called “rebels,” none before the declaration of martial law, no people killed, where is the public armed uprising We submit. Mr. President, there is no armed public uprising, there is no rebellion, there is no basis to declare martial law. Mr. President. Mr. President. our resource persons have identified in their report that there were 2,413 estimated rebels. combatants in Mindanao. How many of these 2,413 combatants. rebels have been charged in court with rebellion? May we have some figures. Of the 2,413 identified rebels in the report-the report says that-ilan pa dito ang nakasuhan na ng rebellion? I heard that there were 17 cases of rebellion filed yesterday. Is that not

GEN. VERZOSA. Yes. Your Honor, we have filed rebellion charges
against 24 respondents and it was filed at the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So 24 charges of rebellion. of the 2.400 identified armed rebels. Where are the armed rebels now? Do we know? May we have … Are they still … Of course, there are no running battles, no. Yes. General Ibrado, where are these rebels now? We identified that they were massing up. that they were with arms in several areas numbering 2.400. where are they now?

GFN. BRADO, Sir, the following is the reported location of the armed groups. We have a group of estimated 400 at Barangay Limpongo. Datu Hofer. We have an estimation 200 group at Barangay Tuayan, Datu Hofer. We have a group of about 100 at Barangay Bakat. Rajah Buayan. We have an estimated 70 at Barangay Bongao. Rajah Buayan. We have a group of estimated 400-

SEN. PANGILINAN. And these armed groups, what are they doing there?
GEN. IBRADO. These are reports. Your Honor, and it does not mean that they stay in one place.

SEN. PANGILINAN. They are moving around.

GEN. IBRADO. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. But are they looting? Are they burning? Are they
engaged in armed attacks? No reports.

GEN. ISRADO. No reports. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, they are roaming around. There are no armed attacks. There are no violent clashes.

GEN. IBRADO. If I may, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes, please.

GEN. IBRADO. They continue to bear arms. Your Honor, and they refuse to submit themselves to authorities. Your Honor.


GEN. IBRADO. We have called for them to surrender because their possession of firearms is illegal. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Because you had the licenses revoked.

GEN. IBRADO. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. When was the revocation? On the second day, November 26, if 1 am not mistaken.Before the revocation of the licenses. were their arms legally acquired or carried? Yes, because. a number of them, I would like to think-

GEN. IBRADO. I have no idea, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. You have no idea. Former President Ramos in a raid TV interview was quoted as saying that “The arming of these civilians is by virtue of an order signed by the President.” Is that not correct? Can anyone answer? The arming of some of these civilians. the CVOs, the CAAs. the SCAA. Ito ay dahil sa isang executive order.Tama po ba iyon?

MR. ERMITA. Your Honor, this has been an order that has been issued some time ago, even during the time of past presidents. where the collation …

SEN. PANGILINAN. I’m sorry, but President Arroyo signed an executive order deputizing or engaging the services of local governments in the insurgency.

MR. ERMITA. Well, this particular executive order you are referring to, Your Honor, I may have to go back and find out because I have no information, but I know. even since before, the former Presidents, through the Defense Department, the Secretary of National Defense, had authorized the arming civilians who are organized into what we call the civilian auxiliary force and these. were authorized, but they are under the supervision of designated military personnel either officers or non-commissioned officers.

SEN, PANGILINAN. And, if I heard correctly, yesterday in the testimony of Chief Superintendent Verzosa. he said that quite a number of those who were involved in the massacre were actually- CVOs- CVOs, whose licenses or whose authority to carry firearms, well, came from a precisely an executive order by President Arroyo. Yes, Secretary Puno. Please.

MR. PUNO. Thank you. Mr. Senate President. Mr. Speaker. Your Honor. If I may just clarify, the executive order referred to is Executive Order No. 546.

SEN. PANGILINAN. 546. Yes, thank you.

MR. PUNO. Executive Order No. 546 basically brought in the Philippine National Police to assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the suppression of insurgency. And among the provisions In Executive Order No. 546, was allowing the deputation of police auxiliaries from among either barangay tanods or civilian volunteer organizations. Now, may I explain that civilian volunteer organizations under existing provisions may be anything from traffic enforcers..

MR. PUNO. … traffic enforcers to municipal collectors of the municipal licensing, and volunteers for disaster prevention. So, per se, civilian volunteers organizations can refer to any area of barangay activity.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Not necessarily insurgency.

MR. PUNO. By itself, Your Honor, they are not allowed to carry firearms unless they are identified as police auxiliaries.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, the deputization as police auxiliary is necessary.

MR. PUNO. Is a necessary precedent to the carrying of firearms, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, if there were CVOs, according to Director General Jesus Versoza, who were armed, then, that was because they were I deputized as polis auxiliaries.

MR. PUNO. Either they were validly deputized. Your Honor, or they were carrying firearms illegally.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay. Thank you,thank you. for that clarification. We go back to the issue of rebellion. Yesterday, one of our police PNP representatives. Caro,.gave us a day-today account of the action taken by the government. On the 29 of November, they were going about their work efforts to secure the area on day one. Were there any efforts then? Here, in day one maybe we can ask Chief Superintendent Versoza. Were there efforts to the police investigation on day one? Nagkaroon ba ng problema noong dumating sa scene of the crime iyong mga kapulisan natin? Nagkaroon ba ng resistance, nagkaroon ba ng problema, or was the place-wasn’t the site abandoned?

GEN. VERZOSA. Your Honor, on the first day of the incident, it was the Armed Forces of the Philippines that conducted, that were the first ones to reach the area.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Okay, I’ll ask the general, the good general. General, a were you able to secure the area immediately when your people got there? Nagkaroon ba ng palitan ng putukan doon? Nagkaroon ba ng pagtutol doon sapagpasok ng ating mga sundalo doon sa area?

GEN. VERZOSA. There were no clashes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. No clashes, okay. On day two sabi ng ating report, the regional and provincial directors were relieved. Tama po ba iyon? On day two, the regional and provincial directors were relieved of the PNP.

GEN. VERZOSA. That is right, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Did they resist?

GEN. VERZOSA. No. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Wala. You also relieved the AFP-PNP security personnel on day two, of the Amapatuans, is that right? The AFP security personnel, that was your report, were relieved. Tinanggal iyong AFP-PNP security personnel assigned to the Ampatuans.

GEN. VERZOSA. They were recalled, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. They were recalled.

GEN. VERZOSA. That is right, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Was there resistance?

GEN. VERZOSA. None, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. None. How many personnel were recalled? Would you have any idea? 200. 150?

GEN. VERZOSA. All those that were detailed…

SEN. PANGILINAN. llan po iyon, may numero pa kayo?

GEN. VERZOSA I have to check, Your Honor, but it’s around 20, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. 20. And in the case of the AFP?

GEN. VERZOSA. At the moment I can recall only five personnel.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, there was no resistance when they were recalled. On day three. 31 CAAs were taken into custody. CAA, 21. What is aCAA, again, t am sorry?

GEN. VERZOSA. Cafgu Active Auxiliary. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, 21 were taken into custody. Any resistance on day three?

GEN. VERZOSA. None. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. None. They gave up voluntarily, perhaps.

GEN. VERZOSA. No resistance, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. No resistance. Also, 18 PNP personnel were taken
into custody. Did they resist?

GEN. VERZOSA. No, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. None. On November 25, what is this? Four SCAA companies of the Ampatuans were deactivated. llan itong four SCAAs company? Ilang tao po ito?

GEN. VERZOSA. 347, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, 347 were deactivated, any resistance?

GEN. VERZOSA . None, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, no difficulties in terms of implementing the deactivation of these armed–some are armed, some, perhaps, are not-personnel.

Novermber 26, took over physical control of the capitol.

SFN. PANGILINAN. …. of the capitol. The ARMM, Maguindanao municipal halls. Nagkabarilan ba when you took over? Wala, hindi ba?
GEN. VERZOSA. None. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. None. On day four. Andal Ampatuan was arrested,’ and inquested. So, there was a warrant of arrest. there was an inquest fiscal. So the Judiciary was functioning in that sense and it was not crippled. Maybe, the Judiciary in Maguindanao-but there are remedies outside of Maguindanao to be able to get a warrant of arrest .I am establishing this. Mr. President. Mr. Speaker. because obviously, at that point, it looked like-if there was a rebellion or about–a rebellion about to begin or a looming rebellion, it did not appear like they were having a difficult time doing their work until-this is the claim of the report-Ampatuan was arrested. Now, I still have another, I think five minute or nine minutes or four minutes.Deliberate and synchronized rno’des that paralyzed the government, this is again in the report. The courts were not functioning. Who undertook the deliberate and synchronized moves to paralyze the government? The rebels. May we-yes, Secretary Devanadera. who undertook the deliberate and synchronized moves to paralyze government?

MS. DEVANADERA. Your Honor. may I refer that to the law enforcement agencies who gather the facts.

GEN. VERZOfA. Your Honor …

SEN. PANGILINAN. Well, it is in your report. and you said there was a deliberation, just like to say-I would like to think that the rebels undertook a deliberate-because this is an element necessary to prove rebellion. Let us zero in on the crippled local justice system. because you said that was a basis to declare martial law. a crippled local justice system. I am assuming crippled local justice system because of the rebellion, because of the rebels.Yesterday. Congressman Dilangalen explained to us that there are three RTC judges’ salas in Maguindanao. one is vacant because the judge died and it has not been filled up. So. that is not functioning because of government inaction or non-action. Two other RTCs. I was informed. it is on record. they are on leave. travel leave, the two judges are in Saudi Arabia, with government permission, So, the three Maguindano RTCs are not functioning at this point because of government inaction or Government approval. That is the RTC. It is interesting to note. there are eight MTCs and MTCCs in Maguindanao, seven of which are vacant. There is only one MTC functioning. and the vacancy is because government has not been able to fill it up, not because of the rebels. not because the rebellion has crippled the justice system in the local area. Again. we would like to think. the rebellion is not the reason for the crippling of the justice system because there is no rebellion. And there is no rebellion. therefore, there is no basis for the declaration of martial law.And another point. about the courts not functioning. Is it not true that at the time martial law was declared, five warrants of arrest had already been issued by RTC in Kidapawan? Is it not true? Yes or no? There were already five warrants of arrest issued before the martial law declaration.

MS. DEVANADERA. Your Honor, but the Supreme-we had to go to the Supreme Court, request for the designation of a judge, and the judge that they found is outside of the jurisdiction of Maguindanao. Your Honor. In fact …

SEN. PANGILINAN. But he was able to issue five warrants of arrest. Yes?

MS DEVANADERA. But. Your Honor, each time, we had to go to the Supreme Court whenever we would need warrants, and that is not a normal . . .

SEN. PANGILINAN. You mean to say …

MS. DEVANADERA. … functioning of the courts, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. You mean to say. when martial law is declared, you have–you need not go to the courts for warrants. for search warrants? You still have to …

MS. DEVANADERA. Your Honor, in the declaration, Your Honor, there is the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. This is for warrants of arrest. What about search warrants?

MS. DEVANADERA. The search warrants if it is necessary, as we have seen, it was necessary and therefore searches can also be without warrants, Your Honor. These are extraordinary situations calling for extraordinary powers.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Search warrants -the right against illegal search and seizure is suspended when martial law is declared? Just the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Well. anyway. I am surprised because it is my view. Mr. President. Mr. Speaker, that the right against illegal searches or seizures continues to be available even if a martial law declaration is undertaken, Mr. President. What is suspended is the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. These are two different things. Mr. President. I am concerned that now the Justice Secretary is saying that we can go through searches and seizures even without a valid warrant issued by a court.

MS. DEVANADERA. We confirm our position, Your Honor, because this is martial law and the filing of charges will be for rebellion. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAM. So yesterday, Chief Superintendent Verzosa testified saying that a lot of search operations took place after the martial law declaration. In fact. he mentioned 400 arms, high-powered firearms. Would you know how many operations of searches and seizures took place?

GEN. VERZOSA. I will estimate that around eight to 10. You: Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Eight to 10.

GEN. VERZOSA. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. All of these eight to 10 have no search warrants.

GEN.VERjL09. That’s right. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So. we are saying now that a martial law declaration suspends other provisions of our Bill of Rights apart. from a suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes. Your Honor. for rebellion only.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Well. that is a legal question. Mr. President, My view is. you need to still secure a search warrant to be able to do your searches. Mr.President. and any evidence obtained without a valid search warrant. Mr.President, in inadmissible in evidence. It may have weakened. Again, this is my view. This can be debated. Mr. President. My last point. Mr. President. ! am assuming that government is hellbent on seeking justice for the 57 victims of the massacre and, therefore, it will be relentless in pursuing the multiple murder cases. How many cases have been filed so far for multiple murder?

MS. DEVANADERA. For multiple murder cases, prior to the declaration of martial law, we were able to file against 12 named respondents. One, of course, is now considered an accused. Mayor Unsay Ampatuan. Of course, after martial law, we have already a total of 71 respondents.
Your Honor, and I would like to emphasize …

SEN. PANGILINAN. Respondents in the ….

MS. DEVANADERA. In the multiple murder. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So, are these already in court or just under ….

MS. DEVANADERA. Under preliminary investigation, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So. the question is. how many have been charged?

MS. DEVANADERA. We have a total ….

SEN. PANGILINAN. Twelve have been- charged. 71 are under investigation.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT. May we request the Gentleman to allow the witness to finish before another question is asked.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Sorry, I am sorry, Mr. President. Please proceed.

MS. DEVANADERA. Thank you, Your Honor. We have a total of 83 now charged before the court and before the Department of Justice. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. How many are in the courts and how many are in the Department of Justice?

MS. DEVANADERA. We have just one before the court and that is Mayor Unsay Ampatuan. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. And then 82 are still pending with the DOJ.

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Thank you, Your Honor. Now, with respect to the rebellion cases. how many cases are now filed before the courts?

MS. DEVANADERA. Before the courts, Your Honor, yesterday we filed cases against 24. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. So. 24 court cases.

MS. DEVANADERA. Yes, Your Honor. 24 accused.

SEN. PANGILINAN. If numbers are, well, an indication of the interest at this point – of course. we may debate this otherwise, it would seem that the government is more interested in pursuing the rebellion cases because ….

SEN. PANGILiNAN. … the rebellion cases because there are 24 cases now in court for rebellion and there is only one case in court for murder. Now. Of course, there are 83 and we will say this. there are 33 still being charged by the DOJ. We hope that these 83 will now become cases filed before our courts.

MS. DEVANADERA. Provided that we finish our preliminary investigation as required by law to give them the due process. your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. Of course, yes, yes. Now, what has a stiffer penalty-murder or rebellion?

MS. DEVANADERA. For rebellion. Your Honor, the penalty for the leaders is reclusion perpetua. For murder. Your Honor, it is reclusion perpetua. So, for all of them. Non-bailable. Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN. In the two attendant cases-I will wrap up. Mr. President, Mr. Speaker-there are 57 counts of multiple murder. 57 counts of multiple murder times 40, which is the maximum for reclusion pepetua, is something like 2.280 years. That would be the penalty for one who will be found guilty of multiple murder. For rebellion, it is 40 years maximum. So, my view, Mr. President, and this is to sum up, we have to show greater vigor in pursuing the multiple murder cases because I believe that is the stronger case in terms of. you know. sending a strong signal that we mean business, that we mean that people should be made to account for their heinous crimes. 2.280 years vis-a-vis 40 years. And again, the rebellion charges I find. as I earlier mentioned. Mr. President, we find a bit difficult to believe as we earlier manifested. Mr. President.

We would like to thank our resource persons for their kind attention and their patience. In patting. Mr. President. before I yield the floor. we reiterate. there was no rebellion in Maguindanao. therefore. there is no basis for a martial law proclamation. We would like to enforce the law. Mr. President. but let us not a break the law while we try to enforce it.

Thank you. Mr. President.