Human rights group presses court to let jailed grandmother scrutinize search warrant papers

Published March 21, 2021, 12:32 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

A human rights group has pressed the Calamba City regional trial court (RTC) to allow a detained 61-year-old grandmother to scrutinize the records which were used in the issuance of search warrants that led to her arrest last March 7.

Karapatan said its paralegal volunteer Nimfa D. Lanzanas was arrested during the joint police and military operations that resulted in the deaths of nine persons in South Luzon provinces.

Five other persons were arrested during the operations aside from Lanzanas who was, thereafter, charged with illegal possession of explosives and violations of the firearms law.

It was not known immediately if Lanzanas was arraigned on the two charges last Friday, March 19, by the Calamba City RTC where the cases were filed.

Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay said Lanzanas’ lawyers filed last March 17 a motion asking the Calamba City RTC Branch 37 to subpoena the records of Manila RTC Branch 174 concerning the application of the search warrants by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

 “We urge the Calamba City RTC to immediately grant Lanzanas’ motion because this will give her a chance to defend herself against the fabricated allegations of illegal possession of firearms and explosives,” said Palabay in a statement.

 “Any delay may further infringe upon her right to due process and against arbitrary arrest and detention,” Palabay said.

She said that Lanzanas “is a mother, a grandmother of little children, and a brave activist standing firm in the defense of human rights.”

Last Wednesday, March 17, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) filed Lanzanas’ motion before the RTC branches in Calamba City and Manila.

The pleading stated:  

“The Movant respectfully manifests that she seeks to be afforded a fair opportunity to contest her indictment and the cause of her arrest, and, thus, will be availing of whatever reliefs available to her prior to her arraignment,” Lanzanas said in a pleading filed for her by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) last March 17.

“But she can only do so if she is made aware of the nature of the accusations against her and will be provided with the records for the application of Search Warrant No. 21-31076 and Search Warrant No. 21-31077.”