2nd petition for writ of amparo vs PNP filed in SC

By , on October 18, 2017


FILE: Supreme Court of the Philippines (Photo: Philippine News Agency)
FILE: Supreme Court of the Philippines (Photo: Philippine News Agency)

MANILA — Another petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo was filed by the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) before the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday seeking to protect residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila against the government’s anti-illegal drug war dubbed as “Oplan Tokhang.”

The petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo seeks to protect the families of ‘Tokhang’ victims whose rights to life, liberty and security are violated or threatened from alleged harassment and intimidation by the police.

The 57-page petition filed by CenterLaw represent petitioners led by Sr. Ma. Juanita Daño, a nun of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, and 47 others who collectively filed the class suit on behalf of all the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres.

The petition sought the issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO) prohibiting police authorities from getting near the residences and workplaces of the families of the 35 residents of San Andres Bukid who have been killed during the anti-illegal drug operations in the area for the past 13 months.

They also sought to enjoin the respondent from entering within a radius of one kilometer from the residence, work addresses of the families of the victims of Oplan Tokhang.

It also sought to prohibit the respondents from harassing, contacting or communicating with the affected parties, directly or indirectly.

The petition recounts the systematic violence allegedly perpetrated by members of the MPD Station 6 over the urban poor community of San Andres Bukid and its adjacent areas.

“Specifically, it tells of the police cordoning off the perimeters of slum communities and disabling closed circuit cameras; of armed men entering these areas in the dead of night, barging into houses no better than oversized boxes, shooting their victims and leaving; of police standing guard, training their flashlights on houses and windows and shouting harsh warnings at the neighbors not to look while armed men break down doors and gun down the victims inside their own homes; of police appearing in the scene shortly after, carting off the bodies of the victims and directing that the bodies be brought to the police’s authorized funeral parlors,” the petition read.

For the residents of the 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, the Centerlaw is asking the Court to prohibit the police authorities from coercing barangay officials from coming up with or submitting a list of any alleged drug users, pushers or trouble-makers within the community until the respondents have shown full compliance with the constitutional requirements of due process, the requirements of the Data Privacy Act, and regulatory assurance against arbitrariness and criminal machination.

The petition noted that many of the victims were also previous surrenderers under Oplan Tokhang.

Named respondents in the petitioner were the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) Director-General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, Manila Police District Director Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, Manila Police Station 6 Commander Police Supt. Olivia Ancheta Sagaysay, Police Supt. Jerry Corpuz and Police Supt. Robert Domingo.

Also named as respondents were police officers assigned to MPD Station 6 identified as PO2 Rhafael Rodriguez, PO2 Princeton Felia, PO1 Harry Allan Cruz, PO1 Kennith Gaa, PO1 Efren Guitering, PO2 Jocelyn Samson, PO3 Allan Escramosa, PO2 Francisco Mendoza, PO2 Roestrell Ocampo, PO3 Rodolfo Ocampo, Jr. Police Sr. Inspector Concorcio Pangilinan, and three others identified only as alias “Harry,” alias “Jr.” and alias “Ivan.”

This is the second petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo filed by CenterLaw in connection with the government’s drug campaign.

The first was filed on January 26, 2017 in behalf of the families of the Tokhang victims who worked as garbage collectors and scavengers (Marcelo Daa Jr., Raffy Gabo, Anthony Comendo, and Jessie Cule) and fruit/vegetable vendor (the lone survivor, Efren Morillo) in Payatas, Quezon City.

Last January, the high court issued a temporary protection order (TPO) and ordered the Court of Appeals (CA) to conduct a hearing on the petition filed by Center for International Law on behalf of the families of slain drug suspects in “Oplan Tokhang” operations in Payatas, Quezon City in August last year.

In a three-page resolution dated Feb. 10, penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas and was concurred by Associate Justices Danton Bueser and Renato Francisco the CA’s 14th Division granted the petition for the issuance of a Writ of Amparo seeking to protect the families of ‘Tokhang’ victims whose rights to life, liberty and security are violated or threatened from alleged harassment and intimidation by the police.

The CA also adopted the Supreme Court’s directive to prohibit the respondent police officers and their agents from entering within a radius of one kilometer from the residence and work addresses of the petitioners. (PNA)