Karapatan faces kidnap raps over custody of Sagay massacre witness

admin   •   November 6, 2018   •   2687

One of the slain farmers in the Sagay massacre

 

The Sagay City Police filed charges against human rights group Karapatan for the alleged kidnapping of 14-year-old witness to the massacre of nine farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

Prior to this, Philippine Army 303rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Benedict Arevalo previously reported that it was the teen’s father, Vic Pedoso, who filed the kidnapping complaint and serious detention against a certain Atty. Panguban of the National Union of Pilipino Lawyers (NUPL) and the group Karapatan.

According to the military, NULP and Karapatan initially attempted to take the witness away from the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) by using people who pretended to be the child’s grandparents.

When that did not work, the groups allegedly convinced the child’s mother to force the DSWD to turn over custody of the witness to NULP and Karapatan.

However, the child’s father objected to the transfer of custody as it was done without his consent. This prompted him to file a kidnapping case against the lawyer and Karapatan.

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said it is not fair to give the group custody over a child who is not their relative and then suppress him from testifying.

At present, Albayalde said he is not sure of the child’s location. — Lea Ylagan

 

Lawyer expresses high hopes after SC allowed Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition in Indonesia

Maris Federez   •   October 14, 2019

 Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, 29, cries during an appeal hearing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 03 March 2015. EPA/BIMO SATRIO

The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the out-of-court deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia.

The SC reversed the 2017 Court of Appeals (CA) decision that rejected the resolution of the Nueva Ecija Trial Court that allowed the prosecution to get Veloso’s deposition through written interrogatories.

READ: Supreme Court allows deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia

The High Court said Mary Jane will be denied due process if she will not be given the chance for an out-of-court deposition.

Veloso’s lawyer, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Atty. Edre Olalia, said they still do not know guidelines in drawing the deposition as they have yet to receive a copy of the SC decision.

This means that there is no clear indication yet as to when the prosecution will go to Indonesia to get Veloso’s testimony.

Despite this, Olalia believes that the SC ruling has a big impact on how the case will roll.

“Kami ay kumpiyansa naman na mapaparusahan yung mga recruiters tapos iyon ang magiging hudyat ng Indonesia para either gawing permanente ang pagpapaliban, babaan ang sentensya, patawarin na lang siya sa pamamagitan ng pardon o amnesty,” Olalia said.

He added that Mary Jane’s testimony is very crucial as it will be used against her recruiters who are now facing human trafficking, illegal recruitment, and estafa cases.

Veloso was arrested in Indonesia in April 2010 for smuggling heroin and was, thereafter, sentenced to death.

In April 2015, Veloso’s execution was suspended due to the human trafficking case that was filed in the Philippines wherein she is considered a vital witness. (From the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

SC issues writ of amparo in favor of rights groups

Robie de Guzman   •   May 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a writ of amparo and habeas data in favor of human rights groups Karapatan, Gabriela and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines against what they claimed as threats against their lives from government troops.

In a resolution dated May 24 but made public on Thursday, the SC directed President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other officials from Malacañang and the military and police to comment on petition and file a verified return before the Court of Appeals (CA) by June 13.

A writ of amparo is a legal remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is threatened or violated by public officials or private individuals.

A writ of habeas data covers similar threats or violations but by persons who are engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of information or personal data of the aggrieved party.

The high court also directed the CA to hear the petition on June 18 and resolve the case in 10 days after the hearing.

Last May 6, Karapatan, Gabriela and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines filed the petition, seeking SC’s protection from alleged threats against their members’ lives after they were tagged by the government as alleged fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

NUPL takes ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix to SC

Robie de Guzman   •   April 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has taken the issue of the alleged “oust-Duterte” matrix to the Supreme Court to justify its plea for protection from alleged harassment by government forces.

In a manifestation filed by mail late Wednesday, the group cited its inclusion in the Association between Bikoy and Ellen Tordesillas which shows the names of organizations, journalists and lawyers said to be involved in the black propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte by publishing and distributing online videos which contain the alleged involvement of the Duterte family in the narcotics trade.

The petition was filed following the release of the matrix last Monday tagging the group in the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte government.

The group told the Supreme Court in its pleading that the “baseless and reckless” claim against their group and others named in the matrix is proof of intimidation and 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 this time for the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the group said.

“Petitioners simply chose to practice the ideals of the legal profession by rendering services to the underprivileged as mandated by our oath and by legal, constitutional and international principles,” it added.

The matrix shows the supposed links between NUPL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Vera Files, Rappler and other media groups and personalities. The groups were also accused of distributing the “Totoong Narco list” videos.

The lawyers’ group earlier sought protection from the High Tribunal through the issuance of a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data.

The group claims that the military harassed their members after they were accused of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA).

In its SC manifestation, the NUPL named as respondents Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, President Rodrigo Duterte, National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, deputy commander for intelligence Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Intelligence service chief Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri and Philippine Army commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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