By Aaron Recuenco
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Saturday it respects the decision of the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data for the lawyer’s group National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) which a military earlier tagged to be one of the front organizations for the communist rebels.
But AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo was quick to clarify that the favorable High Court ruling for the NUPL does not mean that it is the end of the line for the AFP.
“We take notice through a news report that the Supreme Court has resolved to issue the Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data and thereupon referred the case to the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals to hear the petition,” said Arevalo in a statement.
“This is a prerogative of the Supreme Court. This is not yet the decision on the merits of the case but the procedures of the writs. And the AFP respects that. The AFP is an institution that submits to the rule of law and bows down to the majesty of the courts,” he added.
Last month, the NUPL earlier sought for protection order before the Supreme Court after it was tagged as among the groups with links to the New People’s Army (NPA) and its organizations cropped up as among the groups that allegedly plan to oust President Duterte in the controversial ‘Oust Duterte Matrix’.
The High Court recently issued a writ of amparo, a protection order; and writ of habeas data, or a court order that compels any respondent to delete any damaging information against any person or group.
What they are going to do, according to Arevalo, is to prepare for the legal battle.
“We have communicated with the Office of the Solicitor General as our statutory counsel and prepared the refutations of all the baseless claims of NUPL,” said Arevalo.
The official said they are ready to refute the allegations raised by the NUPL against the military.
“We have pieces of evidence to refute NUPL’s baseless claims. We maintain that the AFP is the protector of the people and the state and that national security is of paramount interest,” said Arevalo.
READ MORE: SC grants protection order to NUPL