THE Supreme Court today ordered the justice department to dismiss the rebellion case against six progressive party-list representatives and their co-accused, including alleged communist leaders and renegade soldiers, who allegedly conspired in a leftist-rightist plot to overthrow the government.

In a 23-page decision penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the Supreme Court ordered the dismissal of the cases for lack of probable cause and due process. The High Court scored Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales and the prosecutors for their lack of impartiality, stating that there were “obvious involvement of political considerations in (their) actuations.”

Read the Supreme Court decision on Crispin B. Beltran vs. People of the Philippines, et al.

“(We) cannot emphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow, and should avoid giving the impression that their noble office is being used or prostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, for political ends,” the Court said.

The Court said it is “only by strict adherence to the established procedure may the public’s perception of the impartiality of the prosecutor be enhanced.”

In a radio interview, Gonzales said the DOJ was not meddling in the affairs of politics, saying it merely did its job processing the rebellion cases.

In April 2006, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed rebellion charges before the Makati Regional Trial Court against former Senator Gringo Honasan; party-list Reps. Crispin Beltran, Satur Ocampo, Joel Virador, Teodoro Casino, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano; and 42 others after finding probable cause that they “conspired and confederated with each other” to overthrow the government.

According to the Supreme Court, there is no sufficient evidence to prove that Beltran committed the crime of rebellion, which would constitute taking part in an armed public uprising against the government.

Early in 2006, two witnesses alleged that Beltran and the five representatives met with Magdalo member 1st Lieutenant Lawrence San Juan in Padre Garcia, Batangas, days before the foiled coup attempt in February 2006.

The Court further said that Beltran’s mere membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines, which he has denied, does not constitute rebellion. Also, there is no proof on allegations that he used his pork barrel funds to buy arms for the underground movement.

It added that Beltran’s arrest was illegal as none of the arresting officers saw Beltran commit the crime of rebellion. Beltran was arrested without warrant for the charge of inciting to sedition, a day after the country was placed under a state of national emergency. He has been in detention for over a year.

On the case against the five other party-list representatives and the other co-accused, the Supreme Court said the preliminary investigation was tainted with irregularities. The Court said the DOJ peremptorily issued subpoenas and distributed copies of the affidavit of the witness, a masked man, to members of the media, “knowing that petitioners have not had the opportunity to examine charges against them.” The masked man was later identified as James Fuentes who claimed Ocampo and the others attended secret meetings to plan the ouster of the government.

“The prosecutors not only trivialized the investigation but also lent credence to petitioners’ claim that the entire proceeding was a sham,” the High Court said.

On March 22, 2006, the DOJ denied the group’s petition for the entire DOJ panel of prosecutors to inhibit themselves from the case “for lack of impartiality and independence.” The group then filed a motion for reconsideration and moved for the case’s dismissal; both were denied by the prosecutors.

The DOJ then proceeded to file rebellion charges. The Office of the Solicitor General subsequently issued a comment that the preliminary investigation was not tainted with irregularities. Beltran’s group then decided to bring the matter before the Supreme Court.

“We are vindicated. This is a triumph of truth and justice over the Arroyo government’s invented and unfair charge against duly-elected people’s representatives,” Ocampo said in a statement.

“The tribunal’s ruling affirms our position that the charges against us are all fabricated, based only on perjured testimonies, full of legal shortcuts and obviously politically motivated,” he added.

Beltran meanwhile said that the Supreme Court has issued “a most humane and just decision.”

“The SC decision is an affirmation of our consistent and just assertions of innocence. Fifteen months is a long time to be detained on false charges and fabricated testimonies. Even one day is too long,” he said. (See related post.)

Beltran’s lawyer, Romeo Capulong of the Public Interest Law Center, said that once the decision is served to the Makati court, Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 146 can order the immediate release of Beltran. If all goes well, Capulong said Beltran will be released on Monday, in time for the last remaining session days of the 13th Congress, which will run from June 4 to 6, 2007.

The 74-year-old labor leader said he will continue to push for the passage of a P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers, a P3,000 across-the-board salary hike for government employees, and press for an end to the worsening civil, political and human rights situation in the country.

7 Responses to SC rules in favor of Batasan 6; scores DOJ’s lack of impartiality



June 2nd, 2007 at 7:01 am

pity the bodies who were detained or locked up from trumped-up charges…

but pity more the souls of those who concocted such charges…those whose pledge is to create a Nation divided with unLiberty and inJustice for all!



June 2nd, 2007 at 7:25 am

There is No Probable Cause to Indict Beltran for Rebellion.

Probable cause is the “existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.”[20] To accord respect to the discretion granted to the prosecutor and for reasons of practicality, this Court, as a rule, does not interfere with the prosecutor’s determination of probable cause for otherwise, courts would be swamped with petitions to review the prosecutor’s findings in such investigations.[21] However, in the few exceptional cases where the prosecutor abused his discretion by ignoring a clear insufficiency of evidence to support a finding of probable cause, thus denying the accused his right to substantive and procedural due process, we have not hesitated to intervene and exercise our review power under Rule 65 to overturn the prosecutor’s findings.[22] This exception holds true here.

truly an exceptional case where ever-ready means (from ever-ready accomplices) are employed for political ends.

now, what will happen to those who abused their discretion?

with the present administration…Retribution very unlikely.


Current » Time to resign

June 2nd, 2007 at 11:28 pm

[…] (Incidentally, the PCIJ report on the Beltran decision was admirably detailed and properly backgrounded, but the way it was written makes the third and fourth paragraphs seem as though the Tatad quotes were original to Beltran.) […]


INSIDE PCIJ » Beltran back in House; assails gov’t on illegal arrest and detention

June 4th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

[…] Beltran, together with party-list Reps. Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Teodoro Casino, Joel Virador, Rafael Mariano, were charged with rebellion in April 2006 for allegedly conspiring with renegade soldiers and communist party leaders to overthrow the government. The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Justice Department to dismiss the charges. […]

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November 15th, 2007 at 7:06 am

[…] are also used: banning and attacking rallies, jailing and falsely accusing critics (as in the Batasan 6). And so […]


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April 23rd, 2010 at 7:23 pm

[…] July 2007, the Supreme Court dismissed the last rebellion charge against Ka Satur and the rest of the so-called Batasan 6. In its decision, the court admonished the […]


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April 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

[…] July 2007, the Supreme Court dismissed the last rebellion charge against Ka Satur and the rest of the so-called Batasan 6. In its decision, the court admonished the […]

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