SC’s ruling on extrajudicial killing, violations of human rights ‘meaningful measure’ — CHR

Published August 18, 2022, 2:50 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the Supreme Court for upholding the Writ of Amparo in the case of widow Christina Gonzales as it cited the court’s ruling as “meaningful measure” against extrajudicial killings and violations of other human rights.

The SC denied the petition for review filed by the Antipolo City Police, which challenged the previous 2018 Court of Appeals (CA) ruling on the Writ of Amparo, as well as a Permanent Protection Order (PPO) that barred police officers from entering within a one-kilometer radius of Christina’s residence and work addresses.

Writ of Amparo (a Spanish word that means protection) “is a special writ to protect or enforce a constitutional right other than physical liberty.” The rules on the Writ of Amparo were approved by the SC in September 2007.

After considering the evidence, the SC discovered major lapses in the conduct of the buy-bust operation which resulted in the death of Joselito Gonzales, Christina’s husband.

The SC decision, written by Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, also recognized that there were indeed threats to the life of Christina and acknowledged that she had reason to fear for her life.

“The Commission highlights the importance of these meaningful measures that ensure judicial relief for cases that might endanger one’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, or security,” CHR Executive Director Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement.

“The Writ of Amparo, in particular, is a substantial petition as its protective remedies extend to the immediate family of aggrieved parties, or — in cases where there is no immediate family — any collateral relatives or known associations,” she added.

The CHR noted that the SC’s decision is a “timely and welcome assurance” to the most vulnerable members of society, and it goes hand in hand with the continued investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the campaign against illegal drugs.

With so many other cases yet to be tried in the courts, the CHR hopes that the progress of inquiries and their succeeding verdicts will also adhere to the “immediate, independent, and impartial standards” mandated upon the judiciary, De Guia, a lawyer, said.

“We likewise hope that more government agencies, especially those from the security sector, follow suit and unequivocally uphold the human rights of all,” she added.