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(UPDATE) SC issues writ of amparo vs gov’t on Lozada case

Orders PNP to explain ‘abduction’

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:12:00 02/07/2008

Filed Under: Judiciary (system of justice), NBN deal

MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a writ of amparo against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several other government and security officials, granting the petition filed by relatives of the key witness in the Senate investigation of the national broadband network (NBN) controversy.

The high court also ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged abduction of Lozada upon his return to the country from abroad Tuesday evening.

In a four-page consolidated resolution, the high court ordered Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Manila International Airport assistant general managers Angel Atutubo and Octavio Lina; PNP Director General Avelino Razon; Lieutenant General Pedrito Cadungog, Philippine Air Force commander; Presidential Security Group commander Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza; and Senior Police Officer Roger Valeroso " to make a verified return of the writ of amparo before the Court of Appeals on Feb. 14."

The petition for the writ of amparo was filed by Lozada?s brother Arthur on Wednesday.

The witness? wife, Violeta, had filed a separate petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Both petitions sought to compel the PNP, which they accused of abducting Lozada, to produce the NBN witness. Razon has admitted that police took Lozada into custody, but said this was on his request. Lozada has denied this.

Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said a writ of habeas corpus was no longer issued as Lozada has already surfaced.

Nevertheless, he said the high court wants to know if the police took Lozada against his will and if there remains an existing threat to his liberty.

"That is why the court ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct a hearing on the consolidated petitions on February 14," Marquez said.



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