NUPL to SC: Stand by your lawyers
MANILA, Philippines–The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has asked the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling of the Court of Appeals junking their plea for protection through the issuance of a writ of amparo and habeas data.
“We ask your Honors to stand by your lawyers,” NUPL said in its petition.
“The continued vilification, harassment and threats to the lives, security and liberty of the petitioners by any act of the respondents,including but not limited to issuing public statements maligning and vilifying the petitioners and their activities as human rights lawyers must stop now. ,” the NUPL added.
In its ruling, the appellate court’s former special 15th Division said the NUPL failed to produce sufficient evidence to back up its contention that security forces are behind the cases of harassment, threats and attack on its members.
The appellate court further said that “while mere threats fall within the mantle of protection of the writs of amparo and habeas data, the alleged threats imputed against the respondents herein are not supported by substantial evidence, thus stand on nebulous grounds.”
Aside from President Rodrigo Duterte, also named as respondents in the petition are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon 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 Major General Antonio Parlade Jr.
The ruling also said there was no evidence of President Duterte’s involvement in the alleged threats and harassment against NUPL members, contrary to the group’s claim.
NUPL maintained that the threats and harassment of its members are continuing despite the denial of the military and police.
“How many more lives, Your Honors?” the group added, noting that a human rights lawyer in Negros was killed shortly after the CA issued its decision.
The group was referring to lawyer Anthony Trinidad who was shot dead by unknown assailants last July 23 in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
“If members of the bar cannot avail of these legal remedies, what more for the ordinary victims of state-sponsored violence and impunity. As members of the bar, we do not only serve justice, we also seek it. We do not seek protection for ourselves alone; we seek protection so we
can perform our sworn duty to serve our clients effectively,” the group added.
The CA decision dismissing the NUPL’s petition follows a similar decision by the appellate court that also dismissed a plea for the issuance of the same writs filed by Karapatan, Gabriela and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines also due to their failure to present substantial evidence to back up their claim.
The groups has appealed the junking of their petition to the Supreme Court. /muf
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