By Jeffrey Damicog
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has hailed the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) not to grant writs of amparo to the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).
With this, the OSG said the CA ruling showed that the petition filed by the NUPL is “merely for political theatrics meant to harass the Government, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and his military generals.”
“The NUPL’s allegation that there’s a violent attack by state forces against the legal profession, as its member-lawyers are vilified and red-tagged, is proved to be far more imaginary then real,” the OSG said in a statement.
“The Court of Appeals (CA), in its Decision ruled that despite the liberality afforded to Petitioners in submitting the judicial affidavits of their witnesses and other documentary evidence, and the fact that the State opted not to present evidence the Petitioners miserably failed to discharge their burden of proof,” it cited.
The NUPL initially sought before the Supreme Court (SC) the issuance of writs of amparo and habeas data against the government which it accused of harassing and threatening the organization after being tagged as affiliated with communist rebels.
The writ of amparo is a judicial relief meant to protect a person’s constitutional right to life and liberty.
While the writ of habeas data is intended to protect the person’s right to informational privacy.
The CA then conducted hearings over the petition pursuant to the order of the SC. The OSG represented the government during the hearings.
In its ruling, the CA pointed out that “with nary an iota of competent evidence on record, that the various attacks, harassment, surveillance, and other nefarious acts perpetrated against NUPL members are true as alleged in the petition, such incidents, without sufficient corroborative evidence that the same was in fact on account of such membership, do not satisfy on their own their prerequisites for the grant of the privilege of the writ of amparo.”
The appellate court added “petitioners failed to show how their right to privacy was violated given that their names, membership and particular position in or affiliation with NUPL, their photographs, and even location of their offices are already of public knowledge and readily accessible even to civilians…”