The Court of Appeals (CA) has refused to grant writs of amparo and habeas corpus to militant groups Gabriela, Karapatan and Rural Missionaries which sought protection against government harassment.
In its decision issued on Friday (June 28), the appelate court ruled “the allegations in the petitions, assuming they are duly proven, remain insufficient to warrant the issuance of the writs.”
“There was no unlawful act or omission on the part of the respondents that violated or threatened the petitioners’ rights,” read the ruling of the appelate court which conducted hearings on the petition.
The writh of amparo of provide immediate judicial relief for the protection of a person’s constitutional right to life and liberty, while, the writ of habeas data is designed to protect the person’s right to informational privacy.
The petitioners which have been red-tagged by the government as being affiliated with the communist rebels sought the writs due to alleged violations and threats committed by the government through extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions and defamations because of their advocacy in various fields of human rights work.
The petition impleaded President Rodrigo Duterte and several officials in the Office of the President, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police.
However, the court ruled to drop Duterte as one of the parties “the President during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law.”
In its ruling, the CA explained the petition did not provide details about the violations committed by the government nor provide sufficient evidence.
“Despite these defects, the Court liberally allowed the petitioners to present their witnesses but they were not ready and did not have any supporting documents,” it recounted regarding the hearings which were held.
“The petitioners appeared empty-handed without a single affidavit,” it added.
Because of this, the court resolved that “the petitioners can no longer present witnesses.
“At any rate, even if the petitioners’ witnesses are allowed to testify in open court, they cannot alleged new evidence not contained in the petition,” it stressed.