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)