Gov’t lawyers bring up technicalities in NUPL’s anti-harassment petition
MANILA, Philippines — Without mentioning a prayer for dismissal, government lawyers on Tuesday focused on the legal technicalities of the petition of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) to stop military harassment and red-tagging of its members.
In a hearing conducted by the Court of Appeals, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), through Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Villanueva Miranda, said the NUPL, which is represented by the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), violated the rules when it failed to include judicial affidavits of their witnesses in their petition for writs of amparo and habeas data.
CA judges then asked the petitioners to comment on Miranda’s point.
Lawyer Rachel Pastores explained that what the OSG is trying to do is in effect a motion to dismiss, which is prohibited in the rule on the writ of amparo.
PILC said they will be presenting 10 witnesses while the OSG will have five witnesses. The court has set eight dates to hear the testimonies of the witnesses.
Named respondents in the case are President Rodrigo Duterte, who was impleaded in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Defense Seretary Delfin Lorenzana; Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., AFP Deputy Commander for Intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, AFP Chief of the Intelligence Service Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri, Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto and AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr.
In its petition, the NUPL, an organization of human rights lawyers, wants the high court to issue writs of amparo and habeas data.
Writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or under threat while the writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security has been violated or under threat by the unlawful gathering of information about the person, his or her family, and home.
Both writs serve as preventive and curative roles to curb extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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