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MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE, 2:52 p.m.) Twenty-six years after the brutal torture and murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia and his driver Leonor Alay-ay at the height of the power struggle following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt, a breakthrough has taken place in the double murder case with the surrender of one of the accused, InterAksyon.com learned Thursday.
Desiderio Perez, of Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City, surrendered to Superintendent Ceasar ZL Tannagan, commanding officer of the Rizal Provincial Public Safety Company on July 24, Olalia's son and namesake Rolando Rico Olalia said.
In a letter to Branch 98 of the Taytay Regional Trial Court hearing the case, a copy of which was obtained by InterAksyon.com, Tannagan asked that the accused "be detained at Rizal Police Provincial Office considering that there are continuing efforts being conducted by this office through the above-named suspect to facilitate and fast-track the surrender of the other co-accused of this case and also to ensure the safety of above-named suspect."
Tannagan's request will be heard by the court on August 1, the younger Olalia said.
Olalia said he does not know the role of Perez in his father's assassination. He said Perez may have been involved with any of three teams behind the Olalia-Alay-Ay crime: surveillance, casing, or execution.
Aside from Perez, the 12 other accused are: Eduardo Kapunan Jr., Oscar Legaspi, Filomeno Maligaya, Cirilo Almario, Jose Bacera, Fernando Casanova, Ricardo Dicon, Gilbert Galicia, Dennis Jabatan, Gene Paris, Freddie Sumagaysay, and Edger Sumido. They were all members of the right-wing Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).
The younger Olalia, also a labor lawyer, said Perez may have been encouraged to surrender because the court has ruled with finality to hear the case after 26 years of having the defense lawyers filing so many motions to delay, which have reached the Supreme Court. The court ruling activated the arrest warrants for the accused.
Olalia family's appeal
"My father was killed because he chose to side with the late President Corazon Aquino in her battle against the rightist elements who were fighting her government and attempting to grab power from her at the time," Olalia said in Filipino.
"Now we are appealing to her son, President Benigno Aquino III, to help see the case through and ensure that justice is served," he added.
Specifically, Olalia wants the Department of Justice to provide Perez the protection he needs against those who were behind the double murder, people who are still in power. Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan were closely associated with RAM at that time.
The slain leader of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno was among those killed during the tumultuous coup-ridden years after the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship.
Olalia and Alay-ay were kidnapped, tortured, and later killed in the aftermath of the power struggle following the Edsa People's Revolt in 1986. Their bodies were found in Antipolo on November 13, 1986.