Legislator on getting writ from SC vs Duterte narco list: A ‘first round victory’
TACLOBAN CITY—A legislator named by President Duterte as a drug protector on his so-called narco list said he considered as a “first round victory” the writ of habeas data issued by the Supreme Court that ordered several national government officials to explain why the legislator’s name was on the list.
The case could serve as jurisprudence on the President’s preparation of narco lists and matrixes that show names of indviduals involved in the illegal drug trade.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso said he felt vindicated by the issuance of the writ. He said he was thankful because the high court could have just junked his petition for the writ or refused to take cognizance of it.
Habeas data is a remedy for any person whose right to privacy, life, liberty or security has been violated through illegal gathering of information.
The high court, in granting Veloso’s petition, directed officials to answer arguments raised by Veloso in his petition and ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct a hearing on Veloso’s case.
Named respondents were Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino, Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Director General Alex Paul Monteguado.
Last March 14, Duterte named Veloso, a member of the National Unity Party, as among politicians who were either protectors of or direct participants in the illegal drug trade.
Veloso, who won reelection, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Human rights groups had criticized the so-called Duterte narco list because it would lead to the public shaming of those on it without evidence but Duterte said he trusted the officials who had helped put the list together.
Veloso said he was confident he would get a favorable ruling from the appeals court once his case was heard.
“All I want is to clear my name because clearing me is good for the rest of my life and even after I’m six feet under the ground,” the congressman said.
What is important to him, Veloso added, was that his name be stricken off Duterte’s list and other records.
“It will be res judicata,” said Veloso, using the Latin term for a case already adjudicated by a court and which could no longer be revived by any party in the case.
A favorable CA ruling, he added, would mean his case can “never be again touched by any government agency.” (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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