Military officers snub CA hearing on NUPL’s harassment complaint
MANILA, Philippines — Top military officials on Thursday snubbed the Court of Appeals hearing on allegations of harassment and red tagging by human rights lawyers.
“Their red-tagging is so vicious, malicious. It is without let up. Yet, they do not even show up. They don’t have the audacity to stand their ground,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia said.
“We are all here. Why don’t you just face us and tell us? You bully us behind our backs and when the time comes, you are nowhere to be found,” Olalia added.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo attended the hearing and formally informed the court that the military officers are attending to pressing concerns.
Named respondent in the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data 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 Secretary 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.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) told the Court of Appeals that there is no more need for the officials to be present during Thursday’s hearing.
But Special 15th Division led by chairman Stephen Cruz and Associate Justices Pedro Corales and Hermano Legaspi stressed the importance of the military’s presence to answer NUPL’s allegations.
The court required them to be present in the hearing set next month.
“The Court required the respondents to appear next hearing, July 11, and they committed to be present, or that seven generals will attend the next hearing,” said lawyer Rachel Pastores, counsel for NUPL, said.
NUPL 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. The writ of habeas data, on the other hand, 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.
NUPL maintained that they should not be subjected to harassment and “red tagging’ because they are only doing their job. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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