5 solons in House custody agree to sign waiver of detention
First posted 10:47pm (Mla time) Feb 28, 2006
By Maila Ager
THE FIVE lawmakers accused of rebellion agreed Tuesday evening to sign a waiver of detention, placing them under the "protective custody" of the House of Representatives until their preliminary investigation is completed.
But by signing the waiver, House Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero said Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño and Joel Virador, Gabriela Women's Partylist Representative Liza Maza, and Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano, gave up their rights to press charges for arbitrary detention.
"We assert our right to a preliminary investigation and not to be subjected to, or accept the validity of any inquest proceeding and we agree to be under the protective custody of the House of Representatives during the pendency of the said preliminary investigation," the waiver stated.
"While we are under the protective custody of the House of Representatives, we hereby waive our right under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code," it added.
The five lawmakers have been in the custody of Speaker Jose de Venecia since Monday night.
The lawmakers said they wanted a preliminary investigation so that the court could determine if there was basis for issuing the arrest warrants.
De Venecia said the Department of Justice concurred with the respondents’ decision to sign a waiver of detention, adding they can now stay in their offices or anywhere within the vicinity of the House.
But Ocampo said they would spend the night at the office of the Speaker where they have been staying since Monday.
De Venecia said the waiver would also apply to Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran, who is in police custody in Camp Crame since his arrest Saturday.
On Monday, police filed charges of rebellion against 16 people, including the five lawmakers, suspected of plotting to overthrow the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo placed the country under a state of national emergency Friday, citing “clear and present danger” from leftist and rightist groups out to grab power.