SC issues ‘bitter’ ruling on couple seeking writ of amparoBy Tetch Torres-Tupas
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court ruled that the writ of amparo applies only to extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances, not on trespassing.
In a decision penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the high court dismissed the petition filed by ampalaya (bitter gourd) plantation against Barangay (village) officials from Tabunan in Cebu City.
The high court affirmed the lower court’s ruling dismissing the petition, saying there is not enough bases to grant the writ.
The case stemmed when the barangay officials, led by their captain Bernabe Arcayan, allegedly raided the ampalaya plantation owned by spouses Nerio and Soledad Pador after receiving information that there were marijuana plants in the area.
After seeing none, the barangay officials invited the couple to a talk to which the couple declined and instead sent a reply letter that Arcayan refused to receive.
For fear of more harassment, the couple filed a writ of amparo petition with the lower court which was denied, prompting them to elevate the case to the high court.
A writ of amparo is “a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or a private individual or entity.”
The high court agreed with the lower court’s findings that the claim of threat by the couple was not substantial to grant the writ.
Even if there was basis, Sereno said, what was threatened was the property rights of the plantation owners, not their right to life, liberty and security.
A writ of amparo, “is an extraordinary remedy adopted to address the special concerns of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances”it is not a writ to protect concerns that are purely property or commercial,” the high court said.