The Philippines: Top lawyers revive old group to fight Duterte policies

September 24, 2019

To protect civil liberties and people’s rights, top lawyers, law organizations and law students have convened for the revival of a legal initiative to protect the civil liberties and constitutional rights of the public against the Duterte administration.

“Not since the dark years of Martial Law have our civil liberties and fundamental rights have been threatened and blatantly violated with such brazen impunity,” read the statement of unity of the Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties (CLC).

CLC is broad network of lawyers and law students formed in 2006 during the height of protests against the policies of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo such as emergency rule, Executive Order No. 464, the Calibrated Preemptive Response, extrajudicial killings and the NBN-ZTE deal.

Convenors include members of the Otso Diretso who ran in the May 2019 elections — namely, Neri Colmenares of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada and Chel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

The group also includes  Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National President Domingo Egon Cayosa, Marlon Manuel of the Alternative Law Groups and Edre Olalia of NUPL.

Other key political figures included as convenors are former Vice President Jejomar Binay of Artikulo Tres and former Sen. Rene Saguisag of Mabini.

Legal luminaries and members of the academe are also among the convenors — Professor Pacifico Agabin of the University of the Philippines College of Law, former Dean of Ateneo School of Government Antonio Gabriel La Viña, Arpee Santiago of Ateneo HR Center, Dean Anna Maria D. Abad of the Adamson University College of Law and Dean Manuel Quibod of the Ateneo de Davao College of Law.

CLC has been responsible for several cases filed at the Supreme Court that questioned the policies of then-President Arroyo. It also became a resource witness for the 2006 International Fact-Finding Mission on attacks against lawyers, judges.

Top lawyers revive old group to fight Duterte policies

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