April 15, 2019
“The Honorable Court cannot sit idly by and allow state forces and their agents dictate how law ought to be practiced and eliminate lawyers who chose to represent the marginalized from the face of this land,” the petition read.
Amid recent violence, harassment, threats and red baiting against its members, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) filed a petition for writs of amparo and habeas data with the Supreme Court this afternoon.
Named respondents were President Rodrigo Duterte as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Deputy Commander for Intelligence of the AFP Brig. Gen. Fernando T. Trinidad, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) Chief Maj. Gen. Erwin Neri, Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Sabiniano Alberto and AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr.
The NUPL seeks the protection of its members “whose rights to life, liberty and security have been violated and continue to be violated through persistent threats and harassment, and red tagging clearly intended to vilify and intimidate them and prevent them from pursuing their profession as members of the bar and from practicing their advocacy as peoples’ lawyers serving the poor and the marginalized.”
The group said that some of their members have been in the line of duty.
The NUPL has also asked the high court to compel the respondents, under the Writ of Habeas Data, to produce and, if necessary, to update and rectify, or to suppress and destroy, data, information, and files in their possession, under their control, or contained in their data base which relate to or concern them.
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Members and officers of the NUPL troop to the Supreme Court to ask for protection from relentless military red-tagging led by Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.
The red scare tactics have intensified in recent months, with NUPL members being subjected to surveillance and various forms of threat, harassment and intimidation. The most vicious attack was the murder of Atty. Ben Ramos in Negros last year. In his last days alive, Atty. Ben was red-baited in anti-communist posters which showed his photo together with those of activists in the region.
NUPL lawyers were joined this afternoon by their clients from the marginalized sectors. They called on the government to let their lawyers do their jobs and urged the Supreme Court to issue the protective writs of amparo and habeas data in their favor.#
(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 15/04/19)