Oral argument for writ of habeas corpus issuance for ex-NPA leader set

March 05, 2020

The Supreme Court yesterday scheduled an oral argument on the petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of former New People’s Army leader Rodolfo Salas alias “Kumander Bilog,” who was arrested in Angeles City, Pampanga.

In a press statement, the SC Public Information said the high court’s 3rd Division scheduled an oral argument on March 12 at the Division Hearing Room.

In a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, Salas’ son Jody, who was assisted by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), also asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the Manila Regional Trial Court from proceeding with the former communist leader’s arraignment for multiple murder.

Salas is currently detained at the Manila City Jail.

The FLAG stressed that Salas’ detention was illegal and violative of the Constitutional provisions on (1) right to due process as a protection against hasty, malicious, and oppressive prosecutions, and (2)  right against being put twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense.”

Salas, 72, was arrested at his residence in Barangay Balibago around 5:50 a.m. last February 18.

He was arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32 in Manila.

Salas, along with at least 30 other communist leaders and NPA rebels, have been charged in court with 29 counts of murder in connection with the Inopacan massacre in Leyte in the 1980s.

They were believed to be among scores of victims of mass purging by the NPA in Leyte on suspicion of being military informers in the final years of the Marcos regime.

Lawmen searched his house, finding a .45 pistol, a magazine for the pistol and at least 174 rounds of bullets.

His arraignment  was originally scheduled for February 28 but was  rescheduled to March 17 due to the pending petition.