SC affirms writ of amparo for drug war widow

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2022 02:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2022 05:11 PM

MANILA – The Supreme Court has affirmed a Court of Appeals decision to issue a writ of amparo for a widow whose husband was killed in 2016, at the start of the Duterte administration's war on drugs. 

In a statement posted on its website, the high court said its Second Division unanimously denied the petition for review filed by law enforcement officers from Antipolo City questioning the November 26, 2018 Decision and the April 29, 2019 Resolution of the CA upholding the writ of amparo issued in favor of Christina Gonzales. 

A news report said Gonzales and her husband, Joselito, were arrested for their sale and use of drugs, but were released after paying the cops P50,000.

Allegedly, however, the policemen continuously asked the couple to keep selling drugs, threatening them with entrapment or death if they do not comply.

Joselito was killed on July 5, 2016 in a buy-bust operation. The Supreme Court described Joselito's death as a "drug-related extralegal killing perpetrated by police officers in Antipolo City."

In its statement, the Supreme Court noted major lapses in the conduct of the police operation that resulted in Joselito’s death, saying investigators failed to follow several directives to reopen the probe into his killing. 

The Court acknowledged the various threats to Gonzales’ life, liberty, and security. It gave credence to the claim that following her husband’s death, there were several unknown and suspicious-looking individuals who attended the funeral asking for her whereabouts.

"The fact that respondent (Gonzales) and Joselito were previously arrested for selling illegal drugs is beside the point. As stated earlier, even if the respondent committed a crime, the petitioners, as law enforcement agents, are not at liberty to disregard the respondent’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty, and security,” the Court added.

A copy of the decision, penned by Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, has yet to be uploaded to the Supreme Court’s website. 

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Speaking with TeleRadyo, Atty. Kristina Conti of the National Union of People’s Lawyers said more victims of the drug war may now seek court protection after the high court affirmed the writ of amparo for Gonzales. 

“Ang writ of amparo po ay pwede sa kahit sino na kumbaga natatakot o talagang may banta na sila ay mapapatay, mawawala, ang tawag namin dito desaparecido, enforced disappearance, na merong partisipasyon ang estado.”

--TeleRadyo, 10 August 2022