Justice Leonen pushes for approval of writ of kalayaan
MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has vowed to push next year for the approval of his proposed writ of kalayaan which seeks to address jail congestion in the country.
Leonen, who chairs the high tribunal’s committee on human rights, said that the writ, which he had described as a “measure grounded on social justice,” could help individuals and communities and call the attention of specific courts to the condition of jails and detention centers nationwide.
“Human rights consists not only of a penumbra of autonomies for the individual — it can also be framed as part of our duties to each other, our communities, and our societies,” Leonen said.
‘Right to live’
“Human rights, in a sense, also include our duty to respect not only the individual, but also collective freedoms,” he stressed.
The writ of kalayaan provides an extraordinary legal remedy to address congestion in the country’s prison system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leonen had proposed the measure in his separate opinion on a Supreme Court decision regarding an appeal from political prisoners for their temporary release from detention.
According to the petitioners, their medical condition and age make them vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
“Persons deprived of liberty are in need of more remedies to ensure that their detention [does] not prejudice their right to live,” Leonen noted then, adding that congestion was harmful to many individuals, mostly poor and “therefore, invisible.”
He said his committee would also review the contents, impact, and operations of the writs of amparo, habeas data, and habeas corpus.