Supreme Court acts on complaint against Duterte’s narcolist

Lian Buan
The High Court issues a writ of habeas data to Leyte 3rd District Representative Vicente Veloso who wants the government to strike his name off of its narcolist

SC. The High Court issues a writ of habeas data to Leyte 3rd District Representative Vicente Veloso who wants the Duterte government to strike his name off of its narcolist. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has intervened in President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of publicly accusing individuals of drug links by granting a legal remedy that would compel his government to face the court and explain its so-called “narcolist.”

The SC announced on Friday, June 28, that the 3rd Division has issued a writ of habeas data to Leyte 3rd District Representative Vicente Veloso who wants the Duterte government to strike his name off of its narcolist.

Veloso was included in Duterte’s latest list of so-called narcopoliticians, publicized before his administration can even file formal complaints before prosecutors. Duterte’s narcolists have been slammed by human rights lawyers as a blatant violation of due process.

The SC ordered the following officials to make a return of the writ, or essentially to explain its inclusion of Veloso in the narcolist:

  • Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, representing Duterte
  • Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief General Aaron Aquino
  • Police chief General Oscar Albayalde
  • Military chief General Benjamin Madrigal
  • Interior Secretary Eduardo Año
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Agency chief General Alex Paul Monteguado

At this point, all that the writ does is compel the Duterte executives to face the court, which to human rights lawyers, is already a victory in this administration constantly accused of eroding the rule of law.

The SC has referred the case to the Court of Appeals (CA), which shall make the conclusion of whether Veloso’s name should be stricken off the list.

The SC directed the CA to schedule a summary hearing and “to render judgment within 10 days from the time the case is submitted for decision.”

A writ of habeas data asks the Court to compel the respondent to delete or destroy damaging information, a legal remedy encouraged by human rights lawyers to counter what they say are the arbitrary compilations of drug lists.

The very legality of drug lists is up for debate at the Supreme Court in a separate petition that wants to declare the entire war on drugs unconstitutional. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.