May 7, 2019
(In this photo, presidential spokesperon Salvador Panelo holds up supposed proof of journalists and pro bono lawyers conspiring against President Rodrigo Duterte.)
The National Union of People’s Lawyers, whose members were included in a diagram of journalists and lawyers allegedly involved in a plot to oust the president, will file charges over the allegation.
Speaking at a forum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, NUPL secretary general Ephraim Cortez said the group will not file libel cases because these curtail the freedom of expression, but that charges “will definitely” be filed against government officials involved. He said complaints will also be filed over a newspaper report “exposing” the supposed plot.
Cortez raised that the Philippine National Police had announced an investigation into the supposed plot even before checking whether the “matrix” had basis.
“If evidence so warrants there can always be cases filed against them,” Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde, PNP chief, said on April 23 as he announced the national police would conduct the investigation on its own initiative.
NUPL had previously raised the “matrix” issue before the Supreme Court, saying it bolstered its petition for a protection order against alleged government harassment.
“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived ‘matrix’ above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the Petitioners to again seek at this time for the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” it said in its manifestation on April 25.
The Supreme Court announced last Friday that it had issued a writ of amparo and habeas data in favor of NUPL.
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Lawyers and lawlessness