[HIGHLIGHTS] Lawfare: Weaponizing the law vs democratic dissent

Rappler.com

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[HIGHLIGHTS] Lawfare: Weaponizing the law vs democratic dissent
Legal experts, civil society organizations, and sectoral groups gather in an international forum to talk about 'lawfare'

MANILA, Philippines – On Friday, February 21, legal experts, civil society organizations, and sectoral groups gathered in an international forum to talk about how “lawfare”, a phenomenon described as the misuse of law and legal systems to go after democractic dissent. 

 A portmanteau of “law” and “warfare,” lawfare is a global pandemic that has reached the Philippines according to experts.  

During the forum, former UP law dean Pacifico Agabin reminded the audience that the law “is always double-bladed, it can be used for good and it can be used for evil.”  (READ: ‘Guns, drug lists, trolls…but Duterte’s biggest weapon is the law’)

Other speakers included Maria Lourdes Sereno, former UP law dean Pacifico Agabin, and Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) chairman Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, among others.

Watch the full plenary sessions here:

Plenary 1 and 2:

Plenary 3:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Plenary 4:

Below are highlights from the whole-day event: 

Time Activity
8:50

Inter-faith / Ecumenical Prayer

Bishop Reuel Marigsa
Secretary General
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)

Fr. Robert Reyes
Pastor Hesed Jack D. Alvarez Komunidad ni Kristo
Atty. Norma de Leon Prayer Battalion

9:00 

Welcome Remarks

Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC
Provincial Superior
De La Salle Brothers of East Asia

9:20 – 9:35 am

Keynote

Hon. Leila M. de Lima
Senator
Republic of the Philippines

(Read by Mr. Vicente de Lima II)

9:30 – 10:30 am

Plenary I: Understanding Lawfare: Roots, Aspects and Ramifications

Speakers:

1. Hon. Maria Lourdes Sereno
Former Chief Justice
Supreme Court of the Philippines

2. Atty. Pacifico Agabin
Former Dean
College of Law University of the Philippines

Reactors:

1. Neri Colmenares
Chair, National Union of People’s Lawyers
(Read by Teddy Casiño)

2. Hon. Francis Pangilinan 
Philippine Senator

Moderator:

Prof. Socorro Reyes Committee
Freedom of Leila de Lima movement

10:30 – 10:40 am

Solidarity message

Hon. Antonio Trillanes IV
Former Philippine Senator

10:40 – 11:40

Plenary II: Living with Lawfare (The Philippine and Southeast Asian Experiences): Stories of Struggling Against the Weaponization of the Rule of Law

Speakers:

1. Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno Chairperson
Free Legal Assistance Group

2. Hon. Mu Sochua (On Southeast Asia)
Former Member of Parliament, Cambodia National Rescue Party

Reactor:

Hon. Jose Luis Gascon Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

Moderator:

Ms. Ana P. Santos
Journalist 

11:40 – 11:50 am

Video message

Ms. Maria Ressa
Chief Executive Officer, Rappler

11:50 – 12:00

Morning synthesis

Community picture
Performance: Bayang Barrios

12:00 – 1:00 

Lunch

1:00 – 1:10  

Solidarity video message

Joshua Wong
Hong Kong protester 

1:10 – 2:15 pm

Plenary III: Living with Lawfare: Experiences from the Rest of the World

Speakers:

1. Hon. Jayanthi Devi Balaguru
Chairperson, CALD Women Caucus
President, International Network of Liberal Women (INLW)

2. Hon. Marina Mesure
General Secretary, France Insoumise Party

Video Message:
Hon. David Kaye
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Reactors:
1. Hon. Teodoro “Teddy” Brawner Baguilat, Jr.
Former Ifugao Representative
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

2. Mr. Shantee Lasala
Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Association of Law Students of the Philippines Representative

3. Ms. Rafaela David
Chairperson
Akbayan Youth 

Moderator:

Ms. Corazon Juliano-Soliman
Former Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development 
UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

2:15 – 2:25 pm

Video Message:

Jean-Luc Mélenchon
President
France Insoumise Party

2:25 – 3:45 pm

Breakout sessions: 

SESSION A: LAWYERING & LAWFARE

SESSION B: MEDIA & LAWFARE

SESSION C: POLITICAL OPPOSITION & LAWFARE

SESSION D: CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS & LAWFARE

SESSION E1: E.1 ECONOMIC, SOCIAL & CULTURAL RIGHTS & LAWFARE 

SESSION E2: E.2 LABOR, URBAN POOR & AGRICULTURE Venue

SESSION F: RELIGION & LAWFARE

3:45 – 5:00 pm

Plenary IV: Combatting Lawfare: Strategies and Responses

Solidarity Message (video):

1. Mr.James Rice 
Former Professor 
Lingnan University

2. Hon. Emily Lau
Chairperson, 
International Affairs Committee
Democratic Party of Hong Kong

Speakers:

1. Prof. Richard Falk (video message)
Princeton University

2. Prof. Walden Bello 
Former Representative
Akbayan Partylist

Reactors:

1. Mr. Jerrie Abella 
Campaigner
Amnesty International Bangkok Regional Office

2. Mr. John Nery
Member of the Board
Asian Center for Journalism, Ateneo de Manila University

3. Hon. Agnes Callamard
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
(Read by Ms. Samira Gutoc)

Moderator:

Ms. Teresita Quintos -Deles
Former Secretary
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

5:00 – 5:20 pm

Message: The View from the Ground: Insights of an Alternative Lawyer

Atty. Sheila Formento
National Coordinator Alternative Law Groups (ALG)

5:20 – 5:40 pm

Synthesis & Closing Remarks 

Prof. Antonio M. La Viña
Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima

– Rappler.com  

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI
Download the Rappler App!