By Francis Wakefield
The Department of National Defense (DND) Thursday expressed confidence that the allegations by Karapatan and Gabriela in connection with the writ of amparo and habeas data will be proven false before the courts.
DND Spokesman Director Arsenio Andolong said the DND and its bureaus fully adhere to the rule of law, and will address Karapatan and Gabriela following the legal process.
He also assured that contrary to the groups’ claim, there was no threat to the lives of their members.
“There is certainly no threat to their members’ lives, liberty, and security coming from the Defense and military establishments, and we will comply with the writ of habeas data as ordered by the court,” Andolong said in a statement.
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Court of Appeals (CA) to hear the petition against the police and the military for their alleged harassment of cause-oriented groups in pursuing their work and advocacies.
In a resolution released on Thursday (May 30), the SC issued Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data on the petitions filed by Karapatan Alliance Philippines, Inc., Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Inc., and General Assembly of Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action (GABRIELA), Inc.
The resolution referred the petition to the CA, which was ordered to hear it on June 18, after the respondents in the case are able to submit their comment on or before June 13.
The CA was also ordered to resolve the petition within 10 days “after it (CA) deems the case submitted for decision.”
Named respondents were President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, Maj. Gen. Erwin Neri, Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Lt. Gen. Macairog Sabiniano Alberto, National Intelligence Coordinating Council (NICA) Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, NICA Deputy Director General Vicente Agdamag, Police Sr. Supt. Omega Jireh Fidel, and Undersecretaries Joel Egco, Severo Catura, and Lorraine Marie Badoy.
A Writ of Amparo is a “special constitutional writ to protect or enforce a constitutional right other than physical liberty.”
A writ of habeas data, on the other hand, “is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information ….”
The petitioners pleaded the SC for the issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO) against the military and the police, and the disclosure and destruction of all files or records gathered against them.
Theirs was the second petition of the same nature filed with the SC.