Legal luminaries hit 'oust-Duterte' matrix tagging NUPL


Posted at Apr 29 2019 03:51 PM | Updated as of Apr 29 2019 05:50 PM

MANILA - Legal luminaries slammed Monday a government matrix linking the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers and some lawyers to an alleged plot to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte. 

The track record of NUPL, an organization of pro bono human rights lawyers, "is beyond question," said several prominent colleagues and the law schools of the University of the Philippines and Ateneo. 

"The red tagging of NUPL is contrary to basic rules of evidence, due process and fair play," read their statement of solidarity. 

"Labeling, discrediting, threatening, and attacking lawyers are against the basic principles of lawyering, the State’s duty to protect them and the delivery of justice," it added. 

Among the statement's signatories were several foreign lawyers, Adamson law dean Ada Abad, former University of the Philippines law dean Pacifico Agabin, De La Salle University College of Law founding dean Chel Diokno and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
Aside from NUPL, those tagged in the matrix released by Malacañang last week were media organizations Vera Files, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Rappler, which have been critical of the administration.

"Dissent and criticism are an exercise of democratic rights. Political harassment undermines the rule of law and substitutes it with the law of rulers," read the solidarity statement. 

"More importantly, these attacks beg the fundamental question of whether there are valid reasons to dissent, criticize and advocate change and how to address them for the people’s benefit," it added. 

The signatories said they would "cooperate and collaborate in all fora to hold accountable those responsible for these attacks."

The NUPL last week raised the “Oust-Duterte” matrix before the Supreme Court to justify a plea for protection from alleged harassment by government forces.

The group also denied working with media practitioners to allegedly plant fake news and enlist the support of state troops. 

Also among the signatories, as of 3 p.m., were the following: 

Jose Luis Agcaoili (Philippines)
Agcaoili and Associates

June Ambrosio (Philippines)
Director, National Center for Legal Aid
Integrated Bar of the Philippines

Domingo Anonuevo (Philippines)
Free Legal Assistance Group 

Rafael Aquino (Philippines)
Partner, SPASLAW

Plutarco Bawagan Jr. (Philippines)
UP Law Batch 1987

Purificacion Bartolome-Bernabe(Philippines)
President, International Pro Bono Alliance

Niloufer Bhagwat (India)
Vice President, Confederation of Lawyers in Asia Pacific

Gill Boehringer (Australia)
International Association of People’s Lawyers

Max Boqwana (South Africa)
National Association of Democratic Lawyers 

Bill Bowring (UK)
President, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights

Pura Ferrer-Calleja (Philippines)
Free Legal Assistance Group 

Joke Callewart (Belgium)
Progress Lawyers Network

Arnel Paciano Casanova (Philippines)
Lecturer, UP Law

Md. Hasan Tarique Chowdhury (Bangladesh)
Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh

Marjorie Cohn (US)
Professor Emerita, Thomas Jefferson School of Law 

Norma Jullien Cravotta (France)
Lawyer at the Paris Bar

Amor Datinguinoo (Philippines)
Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Makati

Gail Davidson (Canada)
Executive Director, Lawyers' Rights Watch 

Evelyn Duermayer (Austria)
International Association of Democratic Lawyers 

Elena Esposito (Italian)
Giuristi Democratici

Jan Fermon (Belgium)
Secretary General, International Association of Democratic Lawyers 

Ricardo Fernandez Jr. (Philippines)
Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism
Russell Fraser (UK)
Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Johannes Karel Gaasbeek (Netherlands)
Day of Endangered Lawyers Foundation

Symone Gaasbeek (Netherlands)
Gaasbeek and Gaasbeek Lawyers

Muhammad Masaud Ghani (Pakistan) 
Democratic Lawyers Association of Pakistan

Caridad Gonzales (Philippines)
Ateneo Law Class 1989

Dennis Gorecho (Philippines)
Alumni, UP Law

Krish Govender (South Africa)
National Association of Democratic Lawyers 

David Israel Díaz Hernández (Honduras)
Human Rights Defenders Alliance 

Lennox Hinds (US)
Professor Emeritus, 
Rutgers University 

Hajime Inoue (Japan)
Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity

Charlotte Kates (US)
National Lawyers Guild 

Jang Kyunguk (South Korea)
Minbyun Lawyers for a Democratic Society

Antonio Gabriel La Viña (Philippines)
Professor of Law, Governance, and Philosophy 

Nelson Loyola (Philippines)
Nelson Loyola Law Office 

Beth Lyons (US)
Alternate Delegate to UN International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Ernesto Maceda Jr. (Philippines)
Former Dean, College of Law, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

Fabio Marcelli (Italy)
Italian Democratic Lawyers

Felix Marinas Jr. (Philippines)
Free Legal Assistance Group

Jeanne Mirer (US)
President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Luis Carlos Moro (Brazil)
American Association of Jurists

Sabah Al-Mukhtar (Iraq)
President,Arab Lawyers Association

Osamu Niikur