Solgen asks SC to drop NUPL’s amparo, habeas data petition

MANILA -- State lawyers on Wednesday belied the claims of groups allegedly used as fronts for the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) that the government is responsible for harassments and threats on National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) members.

In a 35-page comment, Solicitor General Jose Calida sought for the dismissal of the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data filed by the NUPL before the Supreme Court last month.

In the Philippines, amparo and habeas data are prerogative writs to supplement the inefficacy of the writ of habeas corpus. Amparo means "protection" while habeas data is "access to information".

Calida said the NUPL failed to prove or provide a factual basis in its allegation that President Rodrigo Duterte and other respondents -- National Security Adviser (Ret.) Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., National Defense Secretary (Ret.) Gen. Delfin N. Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr., AFP Deputy Commander for Intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando T. Trinidad, AFP Intelligence Service of the Philippines (ISAFP) Chief Major Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri, Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, and AFP Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations Major Gen. Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. -- were responsible for the threats, harassment, and intimidation against NUPL lawyers.

"Petitioners miserably failed to allege, much more to adduce, such specific narration of facts necessary to establish that respondents committed through their own unlawful acts or omissions, acts constituting enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, or the threats thereof," said Calida in the comment.

He said the allegations of petitioners are "based on the amorphous and uncertain ground".

"These alleged threats are, however, a mere amalgamation of facts based on newspaper clippings and unverified statements, threats more imagined than real, and exaggerated to create the ghost of a cause of action," Calida said.

Calida told the Court that the petition should be denied because it did not include supporting documents and evidence as required by the rule on writ of Amparo, saying petitioners merely raised "baseless and malicious accusations".

He also questioned the legal standing of the group to file the petition because the rules on writs of Amparo and Habeas Data require specific individuals to seek such reliefs from the Court, not an organization.

"It is plain from the aforecited provisions of law and jurisprudence that the writs of amparo and habeas data are available only to natural persons, not juridical persons," Calida said. "Mere membership in organizations or sectors cannot equate to an actual threat that would warrant the issuance of a writ of amparo."

The SC referred the case to the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on May 14.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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