Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals says military officers ‘accountable’ for disappearance of 2 labor organizers

Jairo Bolledo
Court of Appeals says military officers ‘accountable’ for disappearance of 2 labor organizers

FOR LOI AND ADOR. Members of Gabriela and Kilusang Mayo Uno, protest as they accompany the families of Elizabeth 'Loi' Magbanua and Alipio 'Ador' Juat—labor organizers who have been victims of extrajudicial arrest and detention since May 3, as they file a Writ of Amparo at the Supreme Court on August 10, 2022.

Rappler

The CA also grants the privilege of writ of amparo in favor of Loi Magbanua and Ador Juat, and issues permanent protection order for them and their immediate families

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has declared some military officers and other officials “accountable” for the disappearance of two labor organizers and members of Kilusang Mayo Uno, who were last seen attending a meeting in Valenzuela on May 3.

“Without any specific pronouncement on exact authorship and responsibility, declaring the respondents accountable for the enforced disappearance and continued disappearance of Elizabeth ‘Loi’ Magbanua and Alipio ‘Ador’ Juat,” the court said in its decision.

The CA’s ruling was in response to the petition for the issuance of writ of amparo filed with the Supreme Court (SC) by the families of the two missing activists. The High Court, on August 23, issued the writ of amparo and compelled the officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to face the court.

Based on the SC’s last decision, the following are the respondents:

  • Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, AFP chief of staff
  • Jose Faustino Jr., Department of National Defense officer in charge
  • Ricardo de Leon, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency director general
  • Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr., Philippine Army (PA) commanding general
  • Major General Roy Galido, PA acting chief of staff
  • Major General Romulo Manuel, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence
  • Brigadier General Nolasco Mempin, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations

The CA also ordered the respondents from the AFP and other security agencies to order a speedy probe into the continued disappearance of the two activists.

“All respondents are hereby directed to cause the speedy conduct of a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation using extraordinary diligence on the continued disappearance of [Magbanua and Juat],” the appellate court said.

“Respondents are likewise directed to utilize all technical and modern technological resources at its disposal to assist in locating their whereabouts and once and for all determine the truth behind their continued disappearance,” it added.

On August 11, three months after the labor organizers disappeared, Magbanua’s partner Ruth Manglalan, niece Alyssa Marie Magbanua, and Juat’s daughter Maureen Juat ran to the Supreme Court for the issuance of writ of amparo. They said the rights to life, liberty, and security of the two missing activists were violated due to their disappearance.

writ of amparo is a legal remedy for persons whose right to life, liberty, and security were violated or threatened by “an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.”

Privilege of writ

The CA also granted Juat and Magbanua the privilege of writ of amparo. This will act as a protection order or a form of a restraining order.

The court also issued a permanent protection order for the missing activists and their immediate family. The SC’s decision in August partially granted the families’ request for protection, but it was the CA that made it official and permanent.

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Juat and Magbanua’s case was the latest petition for a writ of amparo to score a win at the CA level. Before them, the last successful petition was from the families of four victims of alleged extrajudicial killings who were granted protection from police officers.

There was also an instance where the privilege of writ was granted, but no one was held accountable, like in the case of National Union of People’s Lawyers member Catherine Salucon, who won her petition in 2015.

The CA ordered the AFP to identify personnel and file cases against them, based on Salucon’s claims that she was being harassed and red-tagged. But, as of 2019, no one had been identified, nor were cases filed. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.