SC reso on writs of amparo, habeas data not protection order

MANILA Militant groups who filed a writ of amparo and habeas data still have nothing to celebrate as the Supreme Court's (SC) resolution issued May 28 "is a procedure of the writs and an exercise of its prerogatives."

This, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, when sought for comment on a statement issued by militant group Karapatan claiming that the SC has already resolved to issue the writs of amparo and habeas data they have sought.

"There is nothing there for the petitioners to rejoice about because this is not at all a decision on the merits of the case," he added.

Arevalo said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay's claims of a favorable SC decision on their part and acknowledgment of the perilous environment for human rights defenders have no basis, as the resolution issued by the High Court is not a temporary protection order favoring them and their co-petitioners.

"As a matter of fact, the SC referred the petition to the Court of Appeals to give the respondents the opportunity to be heard and adduce evidence," he said.

He added that AFP Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., and all the impleaded military officers will be filing their answer in due time through the Office of the Solicitor General as the public respondents' statutory counsel.

"And they will, in that return, be citing the bare truth refuting all the petitioners' allegations and imputations. We will prove through evidence in the hearing that the charges are mere claims and are bereft of basis," Arevalo said.

He added that the AFP, as an institution, remains committed to the rule of law has the utmost respect to the processes in the courts-it's inherent powers and authority.

"In the intervening period, the AFP as the constitutionally mandated protector of the people and the state will not renege in its solemn obligation. We will ensure that no threat to public safety will undermine the existence of this republic. We owe it to our people because national security is paramount," Arevalo said.

In a six-page resolution issued Tuesday, the High Court granted the petitions of Karapatan, Gabriela along with the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines last Tuesday for a writ of amparo and habeas data.

The militant organizations earlier claimed that their rights to life, liberty, and security have are being violated and being violated by the government's red-tagging allegations.

Named as respondents in this petition were President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Madrigal and 10 others.

The SC also ordered the respondents to submit a verified return of the writs of amparo and habeas data before the Court of Appeals (CA) in Manila on or before June 13 and to comment on the petition.

It also directed the CA to hear the petition by June 18 and resolve the case on the merits within 10 days. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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