Human rights groups seek SC protection anew
MANILA, Philippines — Rights group Karapatan again asked the Supreme Court on Monday to reverse the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of its petition for writs of amparo and habeas data, citing the renewed spate of judicial harassment, threats and red-tagging of its members since it first sought court protection in 2019.
In its second manifestation asking the high court to resolve its petition, Karapatan — together with Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and women’s group Gabriela — asked the high court to “act swiftly and to protect the rights of human rights defenders in the Philippines before it is too late.”
It also called on the high court to revisit its earlier stances on Red-tagging and to “see [it] for what it is: imminent and actual threats to the people’s right to life, liberty and security.”
This is the second time since 2019 that the groups have asked the SC to resolve their writs, which was earlier dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA). Their first manifestation was filed shortly after the killing of Karapatan paralegal Zara Alvarez, who was shot by motorcycle riding gunmen in August last year.
Cristina Palabay, the group’s secretary general, said the high court must resolve their petition immediately “considering … [the] increasingly dangerous environment for our human rights workers who contribute substantially in the work of human rights lawyers.”
In the past two years, the government’s anti-insurgency task force has intensified its crackdown against progressive groups and individuals.
Shortly after the CA dismissed its original petitions for writs, several officers of Karapatan and its member-organizations were slapped with trumped-up charges of murder for allegedly shooting it out with the military in a 2018 encounter in Mindanao.
Several other volunteers, meanwhile, were publicly branded as state enemies, with their names and faces plastered on streamers, tarpaulins and pamphlets in their hometowns. INQ
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