Satur Ocampo and several other leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army were arraigned Thursday morning at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 for 15 counts of murder.
Besides Ocampo, also arraigned were Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Vicente Ladlad, Randal Echaniz, Rafael Baylosis, and other ranking CPP-NPA leaders.
The accused refused to enter a plea over the Leyte massacre case, prompting Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina to enter a “not guilty plea” in their behalf.
The case, which was originally filed in Hilongos, Leyte, was transferred to Manila on request of the accused.
In 1985, the CPP-NPA allegedly instigated the massacre to rid their ranks of suspected military informants. The victims, who were accused of espionage, were tried in “kangaroo courts,” and summarily executed.
Accounts from the families and witnesses revealed that the massacre resulted in the death of up to 70 people in Barangay Sapang Daku alone. Some of the victims’ remains were exhumed in early 2007.
Prosecution witnesses and complainants include former NPA rebels who were then operating in Leyte and who were themselves ordered to execute the victims.
The families of the victims are hoping warrants of arrest for the accused would be issued soon.