Why the 2 Aetas quit joining the anti-terror law challengers
MANILA, Philippines – The two Aetas who accused the military of torture said they signed “with full hesitation and out of sheer annoyance” the document from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).
Solicitor-General Jose Calida mentioned japer Gurung and Junior Ramos’ joint-affidavit during the oral argument continuation.
The two are currently in detention undergoing trial for violation of the Anti-Terror Act of 2020 and Illegal Possession of Ammunitions before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 97.
According to the two, they signed the petition-in-intervention last Jan. 30, 2021 without fully explaining to them its contents.
“Pabalik-balik sila kaya nakulitan na kami kaya napilitan na kaming pumirma [They kept on coming back and it was annoying so we signed [the document],” the two said in their affidavit.
Gurung said initially, he does not want to talk to the lawyers until he heard them talking to Ramos saying “bakit di nakikipag-usap kasama mo. Kung ayaw niyang tumulong hayaan mo di namin siya tutulungan, mabulok sya sa bilangguan. [Why is your companion not talking to us. If he does not want to help.]
Calida said, reading the affidavit before the Supreme Court that after signing the petition, they were given P1000 (P500) each.
The petition being referred in the joint affidavit was the intervention petition asking the Supreme Court that the two be allowed to join as a party to the Anti-Terrorism Case.
During last week’s oral argument, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen asked the petitioners if the court could already step in even if there is no actual case alleging injury because of the questioned law.
Actual case or controversy, meaning conflict is actual, not hypothetical, is a requirement for the Supreme Court to exercise judicial review power.
“Shouldn’t we wait for the actual case? Maybe the Aeta case is the actual case, maybe Rural Missionaries…But we have to see how the government reacts,” Leonen said.
During the oral argument continuation, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta announced that the intervention petition by Gurung and Ramos had been denied.
This is the second time Calida has presented an affidavit from supposed petitioners backing out from the case before the Supreme Court.
During the July 2019 oral argument on a writ of kalikasan case related to the West Philippine Sea, Calida has submitted affidavits of 22 fishermen saying they were not aware of the filing of a petition by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
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