April 5, 2019
Members of the legal profession could be in more danger due to an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) official’s claim that the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) had alleged links with communist rebels.
“Such reckless claims, on top of the public labeling and vilification of our members, has put the judges, prosecutors, public defenders, law professors, gov’t lawyers, law students and paralegals who belong to our voluntary pro bono organization in even more danger,” NUPL President Edre Olalia said in a statement on Friday.
Olalia’s statement was issued after AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. accused the NUPL and other local organizations of having links with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
The NUPL President said Parlade “crossed the line way too far” and that the allegation was “baseless” and “does not legally hold water at all.”
Olalia even warned the AFP official that members of the NUPL will face him in court to question the credibility behind the allegation.
“Absent any credible, competent and admissible evidence to even remotely give a semblance of veracity to this unabashedly fascist claim, we shall hale you to court. And you better match our best lawyers money cannot buy with your best lawyers money can buy,” Olalia’s statement read.
NUPL records show that from September 2016 to November 2018, a total of 24 lawyers have been killed, 15 of which are still unresolved.