CA confirms ex-soldier tagged in Olalia murder case as envoy

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, February 8, confirmed the appointment of former Air Force lieutenant colonel and ex-coup plotter Eduardo Kapunan as ambassador to Myanmar.

Kapunan was also implicated in the double killing of labor leader Rolando Olalia and his aide, Leonor Alay-ay, in 1986.

It was CA vice chairman and San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora who raised the question on Kapunan's legal status.

"Have you been exonerated or on bail? What is the legal status regarding this issue? This is a question being asked of us," Zamora said.

Kapunan replied that he was detained for about a year and was already cleared by the court.

"The double murder case, it was made 5 years ago. I got detained for about a year. I was exonerated by the court. There was a motion for reconsideration filed by opposition but it was rejected by the court. As of now, I am free from criminal charges," he said.

Kapunan was detained in 2012 but was released on bail in 2014. In June 2016, the Antipolo Regional Trial Court Branch 97 granted the demurrer to evidence filed by Kapunan, dismissing the case against him for insufficiency of the prosecution's evidence.

"That now operates as final judgment in the criminal case. In effect it operates as acquittal. So in effect Mr Chairman, there is nothing in the way of legal inhibition to prevent Ambassador Kapunan from assuming his position," Zamora said.

CA foreign affairs committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Gregorio Honasan II, batchmates of Kapunan in the Philippine Military Academy, were all praises for their mistah.

"Let me just say, Red Kapunan is a good man who constantly recalibrates [his] moral compass... He will always stand for God, country, and family," Honasan said.

Others confirmed are Bienvenido Tejano, ambassador to Papua New Guinea; Evan Garcia, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Switzerland; Abdulmaid Kiram Muin, ambassador to East Timor; and Celia Anna Feria, ambassador to Portugal, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Angola.

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, whose confirmation hearing was originally scheduled also for Wednesday, was a no-show. (READ: CA delays Yasay's confirmation over U.S. citizenship issue– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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