Supreme Court issues writ of amparo in favor of missing activists

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2022 07:15 PM

MANILA — The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a protective writ in favor of 2 missing activists allegedly abducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

It also ordered the Court of Appeals to immediately conduct a hearing and resolve the case.

In a press release, the high court said SC magistrates issued a writ of amparo during their en banc session on Tuesday morning in favor of Elizabeth “Loi” Magbanua and Alipio “Ador” Juat.

Magbanua and Juat are labor organizers and members of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who last attended a meeting in Valenzuela on May 3.

Their family members filed the petition early this month, urging the high court to also authorize the inspection of the premises of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija in the hopes of locating the pair, and to compel respondents that they “be surfaced and returned safely and immediately.”

They claimed that Juat was able to tell his daughter that he is being detained at Camp Aguinaldo while there is no information as to the whereabouts of Magbanua.

The respondents, who are the heads of the AFP, the Department of National Defense, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Philippine Army as well as the heads of the intelligence and civil-military operations units of the AFP, were required to file their comment to the amparo petition within 72 hours after receipt of the order.

“As prayed for by the petitioners, the Court likewise granted a Temporary Protection Order and prohibited the respondents from going within a radius of one (1) kilometer of the petitioners and their immediate family,” the press release said.

The summary hearing is set on Aug. 30 and the decision is due 10 days after.

A petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to those whose rights to life, liberty and security are violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.

It covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

The families of the missing activists have tried visiting more than 10 detention facilities and about a dozen hospitals but could not find them.

Rutsi Manglalan, Magbanua’s partner, said in a press conference last week that she fears Magbanua might suffer the same fate as Elena Tijamo, a development worker who was abducted in Cebu in June 2020 but who turned up dead in a hospital in Mandaluyong in September 2021.

Members of Gabriela warned of an allegedly new modus used supposedly by authorities which they called “extrajudicial arrest and detention”, where activists are allegedly detained and used in intelligence-gathering efforts of authorities.

The AFP has no immediate comment on the development. 

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