MANILA — The Supreme Court is set to revise its protective writs by next year, the House of Representatives was told on Thursday.
During the deliberation of the judiciary's P56.49 billion budget for next year, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro inquired about the review of the protective writs like the writ of amparo, writ of habeas corpus, writ of habeas data, and writ of kalayaan.
"Ito po ay sa 18th Congress itong commitment to review writ of amparo... Mga 2 to 3 years ago na itong commitment na ito. Saang level na po ito?" the ACT Teachers party-list representative said during her interpellation.
The Judiciary's budget sponsor, Davao de Oro Second District Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, spoke in its behalf since non-lawmakers are barred from joining plenary deliberations. He explained that a committee chaired by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is doing the review.
"Under the reign of Chief Justice Gesmundo, they are about to release the draft of the modification as to the writ of amparos. So when that final draft or the guidelines as to the betterment of the writ of amparo comes out and it will be publicized, and of course, you will be prioritized to be given a copy of that guidelines," Gonzaga replied.
"Lahat po sila na mga writs na kailangang i-review, yun po ang subject ng committee na inuupuan ni Justice Leonen," he added. "The timeline is early next year."
Castro said rules for availing of the protective remedies should be "flexible", since it might be difficult for some people to comply with current setup.
"Halimbawa, dapat kasama sa petisyon ang name and personal circumstances ng respondent, the rights violated and how the threat or violation is committed at iba pa," she said.
"So parang it defeats the purpose ng pagkuha ng proteksyon mula sa Korte Suprema kasi pahihirapan niyo pa yung nagpepetisyon for writ of amparo dio sa mga hinahanap pa. Paano niyo naman malalaman yung pangalan nung mga magsu-surveillance o yung mga nagtitiktik sa mga tao halimbawa?"
Gonzaga said petitioners need good lawyers.
"Kung magaling po ang pagkagawa ng petisyon, of course everything will be given by the court in favor of the petitioner. Pero 'pag kulang naman po yung prinesenta na mga sitwasyon or factual allegations in the complaint, di naman talaga bibigyan ng korte ng pabor yan," he said.
Castro lamented that some of those who wanted to avail of protective writs were unsuccessful until they had died.
Gonzaga noted that applicants have other options besides the Supreme Court, namely the Court of Appeals and the lower courts. But there are some instances where a protective writ cannot be granted, he said.
"I think the Supreme Court or the Judiciary is fair very fair enough on this issue at hand," Gonzaga said.
Castro urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to act against red-tagging, but she was told this was up to Congress.
"Sana magkaroon naman ng initiative yun, yung sinasabi natin como wala yan doon sa mga violations...baka pwedeng mag-initiative ang judiciary to define itong sinasabi namin na red tagging," Castro said.
"Marami na pong napahamak, marami nang namatay sa ganitong mga nangyayari po."
But Gonzaga noted, "Kahit anong definition ang gawin ng Korte Suprema tungkol sa red-tagging, still the Judiciary the Supreme Court cannot penalize because the Supreme Court cannot make judicial legislation."
"Tayo po ang gagawa ng lehislasyon, ng batas making red-tagging as a crime. Di naman judiciary, di naman si Supreme Court ang gagawa ng batas para diyan," he added.
Castro expressed frustration and impatience with the Judiciary's actions against red tagging. But Gonzaga explained that it is not a crime that can be penalized by the judicial system, though it can be remedied by the writ of amparo.