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Fil-Am activist loses SC case for alleged abduction, torture in 2009

/ 11:55 AM October 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the case of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas who was allegedly abducted and tortured by military agents in 2009.

In an eight-page ruling dated September 10, the SC dismissed the case for “failure to prosecute,” noting that Roxas appeared to “have been disinterested in pursuing her case.”

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In 2009, Roxas filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo and habeas data against several government officials including former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, among others.

A writ of amparo is a legal remedy seeking a protection order while a writ of habeas data is a legal 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.

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The dismissal of the case was released as the SC adopted a 2017 recommendation of the Court of Appeals (CA) for the petition to be dismissed “for failure of the petitioner to show that the respondents should be accountable for her abduction and torture.”

The appellate court added that Roxas had failed to prove that the threat against her security remains, thus raising questions over the need for the issuance of a writ of amparo and habeas data.

“The Court adopts the recommendation of the CA and orders the dismissal of the petition,” the SC resolution read.

The SC said that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo states that the writ could only be issued “only upon reasonable certainty not only as to the existence of threat or violation unto petitioner’s right to life, liberty and security, but also as to the identity of the violators.”

But Roxas, the SC said, failed to provide competent evidence to support her allegations.

Further, it noted that Roxas showed “unwillingness to cooperate with the investigative authority, making the report on her alleged abducion as inconclusive to impute any liability upon the respondents.”

The Court of Appeals in 2009 partially granted the petition in the same year, but the SC reversed the grant of writ of habeas data in 2010.

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The SC also provisionally dismissed the case in 2013 following a special summary hearing conducted by the appellate court.

But in 2014, the SC ordered the CA anew to make a periodic review of the case, with the appellate court submitting its final report and recommendation in 2017 which stated that the petition be dismissed.

“The CA still complied with its duty to conduct periodic review of the petition and in fact conducted several summary hearings to supplement the review. Unfortunately, the petitioner failed to submit any compliance or report manifesting her intention to continue with the case,” the SC said. /muf

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TAGS: Activist, Melissa Roxas, Supreme Court
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