MANILA, Philippines —More groups have now sought the Supreme Court’s protection from the alleged harassment and Red-tagging by the military.
Petitioners led by human rights group Karapatan sought the issuance of writs of amparo and habeas data.
Writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security has been violated or under threat while the writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security has been violated or under threat by the unlawful gathering of information about the person, his or her family and home.
Both writs serve as preventive and curative roles to curb extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Aside from Karapatan, other petitioners are members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and the General Assembly of Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action, Inc. (Gabriela).
Named respondents are President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Brig. Gen, Fernando Trinidad, Maj. Gen. Erwin Neri, Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Lt. Gen. Macairog Sabiniano Alberto, National Intelligence Coordinating Council (NICA) Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, NICA Deputy Director General Vicente Agdamag, Police Sr. Supt. Omega Jireh Fidel, and Undersecretaries Joel Egco, Severo Catura, and Lorraine Marie Badoy.
In their 45-page petition, they said their rights to life, liberty and security have been violated.
“Petitioners, who are legitimate organizations, recognized both here and abroad, including their officers and members, have become open targets of human rights violations. The glaringly numerous incidents of threats, harassment, and killings are aimed at curtailing their rights to freely exercise their advocacies,” they stated.
They told the high court that in previous speeches of the President, he “vilified” Karapatan for a total of six times.
“He practically declared an open season against Karapatan’s officers and members by threatening to go after the organization, which he alleged to be a ‘legal front’ of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) and the NPA (New People’s Army),” they lamented.
Members of RMP and its missionaries have also been subjected to the same Red-baiting tactics and political persecution, they said.
“Ludicrous criminal charges filed against petitioners’ members have locked some of them up in jail and have even thrown one of its foreign missionaries out of the country. Worse, one of its members became a victim of extrajudicial killings,” the petitioners cited the experiences of the RMP.
The same goes to members of Gabriela, some of which have been slapped with “malicious and baseless” trumped-up charges, became targets of continuous harassments and other human rights violations; and heavy surveillance.
“Human rights advocacy is not a crime, yet human rights workers are being killed, threatened, harassed, and jailed on trumped-up charges. We have never taken all these attacks sitting down, as we continue to work to confront this perilous political climate with all available remedies,” they added.
Earlier, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) also sought the same protection from the Supreme Court. The Court already issued the writs and ordered the government to comment on the harassment and red-tagging allegations.
The Supreme Court also ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct a hearing and immediately resolve the matter./ac
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