SolGen asks SC to junk petitions vs. anti-drug ops

MANILA Solicitor General Jose Calida asked the Supreme Court (SC) to junk the petitions against the government's war on drugs, stressing that these may hamper the successful government efforts to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

In a 70-page memorandum, Calida asked SC to dismiss the consolidated petitions filed by the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) through lawyer Joel Butuyan on behalf of the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila City and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) led by lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno for lack of merit.

Calida also said that the high court should deny the application for the issuance of a writ of amparo; the application for interim reliefs; and the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

By granting the petitions against the war on drugs, a dangerous precedent is created where amparo proceedings will be used as a tool by drug personalities in order to fish for evidence, in the guise of protecting their human rights, Calida said.

This would open the floodgates to any person hurling groundless accusations against our police officers which would, in turn, result in widespread disillusionment and demoralization, preventing them from performing their functions with zeal and dedication, Calida added.

Calida further explained that the prayers sought by petitioners � if granted by the SC - would prevent the PNP from performing its official functions and that drugs would once again spread over our communities.

Worse, allowing the creation of numerous police free zones will result in virtual anarchy culminating in widespread criminality, spreading like a malady in our community which would only tear apart communities, the bedrock of our nation's family and youth, he pointed out.

According to the Solicitor General, the resulting indiscriminate filing of unsubstantiated amparo petitions will render the true essence of the remedy worthless.

Such misuse and abuse of amparo will ultimately congest court dockets and delay the processing of cases in the courts of justice, which in the end, defeats the summary nature of an amparo proceeding, Calida added.

The CenterLaw petition is seeking the issuance of a writ of amparo to shield the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila City against the government's anti-illegal drug war.

The FLAG petition, on the other hand, is seeking to declare as unconstitutional PNP's CMC 16-2016, or Oplan Double Barrel, which Diokno said allows the police to neutralize suspected drug pushers.

The group also filed the petition for the SC to issue protection orders for the relatives of three persons who ended up as victims of extralegal killings in the drug campaign.

In his comment filed last November, Calida already sought the dismissal of the petitions which he said were "disingenuous moves to destabilize the Duterte administration and sow anarchy."

He argued that the petitions seeking to stop the implementation of Philippine National Police Command Memorandum Circular No. 16-2016 or "Oplan Double Barrel" and Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2017-112 or the Masa Masid project, if granted, could be detrimental to the government and even pose grave threats to the nation.

He also invoked the power of the executive branch to implement its programs, warning that granting the petitions would be tantamount to an undue interference with the operations of the co-equal branch.

Calida said the assailed orders are consistent with the Constitution and both domestic and international laws, claiming that Project Tokhang has been successful in achieving its purpose and has had the overwhelming approval of the public.

With the submission of the memoranda by both OSG and petitioners, the SC has submitted the case for resolution after earlier hearing both sides in oral arguments last November and December. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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