63 search warrants sought before Calabarzon raids | Inquirer News

63 search warrants sought before Calabarzon raids

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:42 AM March 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) received an “unusually large” number of applications for search warrants days before the “Bloody Sunday” raids in the Calabarzon region on March 7 that resulted in the deaths of nine activists.

In a report to Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that on March 1, the Manila RTC received 63 applications for search warrants to be served in different areas in the region.

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He added that because of the big number of applications, the Manila RTC executive judge was authorized to divide the 63 applications among himself and three vice executive judges.

Of the 63 applications, 42 were granted, 19 were denied while two were withdrawn.

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Marquez said in his report that nine applications were also filed in Antipolo City, of which four were granted. Another four were denied while one was pending as of March 12.

Served simultaneously

“It appears that the 42 search warrants obtained in Manila, plus the four from Antipolo, were served simultaneously on 7 March 2021. From news reports, it can be gleaned that this resulted in the deaths of nine, and the arrest of six individuals,” he said.

‘Two different acts’

“It must be noted, however, that the issuance of the search warrants by the judges and their service or implementation by the law enforcers are two different acts,” Marquez said.

The issuance of search warrants “is judicial in nature … judicial remedies are available to those aggrieved by their issuance,” he said.

“Any action at this time on their issuance may preempt any judicial recourse any party may take,” he said.

Marquez added that based on court guidelines, both the Manila and Quezon City RTCs, through their executive and vice executive judges, had been authorized by the Supreme Court to act on applications for search warrants outside their jurisdictions from the police and National Bureau of Investigation, among other law enforcement agencies.

Peralta earlier ordered Marquez to submit a report on the issuance of warrants by the Manila RTC that were served by the police on March 7. The Philippine National Police claimed that those killed or arrested were communist rebels pretending to be activists but this was denied by human rights and progressive groups.

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TAGS: Diosdado Peralta, Jose Midas Marquez, Manila RTC, search warrants, slain Calabarzon activists, Supreme Court
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