NUPL files motion to halt implementation of Anti-Terrorism Act

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020   •   489

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has filed a motion with the Supreme Court (SC) to halt the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

The lawyers’ group believes the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Terrorism Law did not clarify the reported unconstitutional provisions included in the said law. The group filed an omnibus motion requesting for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the law’s implementation.

NUPL Secretary General Ephraim Cortez said it worsened after more provisions were added which violates human rights. These include the red-tagging of various personalities including Liza Soberano, Angel Locsin, and Catriona Gray.

“Ito iyong nakita naming remedyo upang temporarily huwag muna ma-implement itong IRR at hoping may result din ano sa paghupa ng red-tagging na nangyayari (This is a remedy to temporarily suspend the implementation of the IRR, and we hope this would result in the decrease of the current red-tagging),” he said.

Cortez also added that the Anti-Terrorism Law gives Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. the confidence to red-tag celebrities which drew criticisms from several netizens.

“Nalalagyan niya ng legal basis iyong kanilang ginagawa ito ang sinasabi natin from the very beginning in our opposition to the passage of this law binibigyan niya ngayon ng justification ang mga red-taggers tulad ni Parlade to do it, (Parlade was able to have a legal basis to do this [red tagging]. This is what we have been saying from the very beginning of our opposition to the passage of this law. [The law] is giving justification for red-taggers like Parlade to do it),” Cortez said.

Meanwhile, the oral arguments for the petitions filed at the Supreme Court is set to begin in mid-November, according to SC Chief Diosdado Peralta. He said the oral arguments was supposed to begin in September but it was delayed due to the number of petitions filed against the said law.

“When we’ll go back to the session on November 3, I hope, I hope she will be ready to submit to us the issues to be argued and set the preliminary conference,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

ICC urged to lift suspension on PH drug war probe

Maris Federez   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Petitioners against President Rodrigo Duterte will ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reconsider its decision to suspend the investigation on the administration’s war on drugs campaign.

On November 10, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya wrote to ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to suspend the investigation, reminding the court that the Philippines has the primary responsibility and right to conduct an investigation and, eventually, prosecute all cases inside its jurisdiction.

Malaya also underscored that the country’s justice system is working.

National Union of Peoples Lawyers Chairman Atty. Neri Colmenares, however, said that the government is not serious in its efforts to investigate drug war-related killings in the country.

“There is no genuine investigation, prosecution in the Philippines at ipo-prove namin na hindi siya genuine investigation doon sa haba ng pahahon ng delay pangalawa kokonti ang imbestigahan, pangatlo si Duterte hindi iniimbestigahan at kinakasuhan,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares said the government’s anti-illegal drug operations left thousands dead after they allegedly fought against authorities.

“Kasi ang admitted na patay na dito sa Pilipinas ay 7,000 at least 7,000. So, ang sabi nga ng mga human rights groups mga 20,000 pero sige na kahit 7,000 lang napakaliit ng 52 na inimbestigahan mo para sabihin na seryosong inimbestigahan,” Colmenares insisted.

Colmenares is one of the legal counsels of the petitioners in the complaints filed before the ICC against Duterte.

He said they will send to the ICC their pleadings and will ask the court to immediately lift the suspension of the investigation.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also urged the families of the victims who were allegedly slain during the government’s operations to directly file complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ also promised to provide legal assistance to the victims through the Public Attorneys Office and the Witness Protection Program. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

Supreme Court: Oral arguments on anti-terror act to resume April 27

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The oral arguments on petitions questioning the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will resume on April 27, the Supreme Court (SC) said.

In an advisory, the SC said the next oral arguments would be held via videoconferencing “given the current public health situation.”

“Oral arguments shall resume on April 27, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. which, per prior order, is two weeks after the lifting of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Judicial Region,” the SC said.

“This arrangement shall be pro hac vice [for this occasion only] vis-à-vis these consolidated cases. Personal appearance before the Court En Banc remains to e the primary mode of conducting oral arguments,” it added.

The proceedings will be streamed online but will only be limited to an audio feed, the high court said.

The oral arguments on the 37 petitions lodged against the measure were put on hold since last month due to the spike of infections and other COVID-19 concerns.

Lawyers’ groups seek immediate action to stop violence against lawyers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Several lawyers’ groups are appealing for immediate action from the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the rising violence against lawyers.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines(IBP) have raised concerns over the increasing number lawyer killings in the country.

According to the NUPL, 54 layers have been killed since 2016. The most recent attack was against human rights lawyer Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen who was stabbed in Iloilo City on Wednesday (March 3).

IBP President Atty. Egon Cayosa said the SC should call on the national government to address crimes committed against lawyers.

“Panawagan namin na atasan naman ang mga huwes at ang DOJ (Department of Justice) naman ang mga fiscal na bilis bilisan i-prioritize naman iyong kaso ng mga abogado, he said.

Several lawyers also slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for his seeming lack of response to the attacks on his fellow lawyers.

“Ayaw natin na ang response is after the fact na mayroon nang pinatay mayroon nang in-attack na abogado at tsaka lamang may gagawin ang ating Korte Suprema. I think ang mahalaga ay prevention ng mga attacks na ito,” said human rights lawyer, Atty. Evalyn Ursua. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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