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CA upholds ruling dismissing bid of militant leaders for protection

/ 04:35 PM July 14, 2016
The Court of Appeals. FILE PHOTO

The Court of Appeals. FILE PHOTO

The Court of Appeals (CA) has sustained its decision dismissing the bid of physicians and health workers for the issuance of the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data to stop harassments, threats and surveillance activities being carried out against them by state security forces.

In a three-page resolution, the appeals court 7th Division through Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes said petitioners failed to raise new arguments in their motion for reconsideration that would warrant a reversal of its Dec. 10, 2015 ruling.

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READ: Militant leaders seek SC help vs gov’t ‘harassment’

“We have carefully reviewed our decision vis-a-vis the motion for reconsideration, and we found that the issues raised in the present motion and the arguments advanced in support thereof are mere rehash of those already considered and passed upon, and no new issue or substantial argument has been presented to justify the reversal or modification of the assailed decision,” the resolution read.

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“Wherefore, the motion for reconsideration is denied. The decision dated December 10, 2015 stands,” it added.

Petitioners Dr. Darby Santiago, chairperson of the Health Alliance for Democracy Inc. (HEAD); and Imelda Gerali, nurse and administrative officer of Samahang Operasyong Sagip, Inc. (SOS) and member of HEAD filed the petition last year after receiving threatening text messages accusing them of being doctors of the New People’s Army in Northern Luzon.

Some of the messages from mobile number 09394363140 include “nawala ako ng umaga saan ka dumaan? ah, tinataguan mo ako ha? Teka si Dr. busy na busy sa DOH (Department of Health). Kaya pala hindi dumaan sa inaabangan ng mga ka-tropa ko hehehe.”

(I got lost in the morning, where did you pass by? You hid from me, huh? You seem too busy with DOH, doctor. That’s why you didn’t pass by where my men were waiting for you.)

From the same number, on July 10, Gerali received this message “hello friend busy ka kahapon kaya hindi mo ako napansin. Si Doc Darby guapo kahapon kaso late. The lady doctor was there too. Hinatid nga kita pauwi napansin mo ako?…” (Hello, friend. You seemed busy yesterday, you didn’t notice me. Doc Darby looked handsome yesterday but he was late. The lady doctor was there too. I walked you home, did you notice)?…” Then, a follow up text saying “pssst…lingon naman dyan (hey, turn around)!”

Aside from the two, other petitioners include Rebecca Abelong, National Treasurer of Allied Workers Federation-KMU; Neil Ambion, Media Liaison Officer of KMU; Renato Asa, Secretary of KMU’s PIO; Loreto Victoriano, coordinator for Manila of KMU; Josephine Carlos Betana, chair of Caloocan City chapter of Migrante; and Lovely Carbon and Jessica Ferrera of the National Union of Students of the Philippines and John Paul Lapid of Kabataan Partylist.

Petitioners sought the issuance of a writ of amparo, a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission and writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, among others.

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Named respondents include former President Benigno Aquino III, former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri, former Major General Virgilio Hernandez, former Deputy Commander for Intelligence of the AFP, former ISAFP Chief Brig. General Arnold M. Quiapo, Philippine Army, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ricardo Marquez and former National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Joel Pagdilao.

The appeals court, in its December 10, 2015 decision, ruled that the petitioners failed to mention Aquino’s involvement in any incident they narrated.

The appellate court added that petitioners failed to provide any clear information on the identity of the person or persons responsible for the purported threats and alleged surveillance on them.

“Aside from the self-serving, hearsay evidence offered by petitioners, there is no scintilla of proof to show that the perpetrators of the threat and those conducting the surveillance on petitioners, were government agents,” the appeals court said.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Magdangal M. de Leon and Elihu Ybanez. RAM

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TAGS: CA, Court of Appeals, habeas data, harassments, health workers, physicians, Surveillance, Threats, writs of amparo
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