NUPL asks Supreme Court for protection order after ’Oust Duterte matrix' tag


MANILA, Philippines –
Human rights group National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) filed a manifestation with the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, April 24, asking the High Court for a protection order from the government and the military after it was tagged in the so-called "Oust Duterte matrix." 

This so-called "matrix" has been debunked and fact-checked by Rappler. (READ: FALSE: 'Ouster plot' against Duterte 'bared')

The NUPL initially filed on April 15 petitions for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data, citing harassment from the army after Major General Antonio Parlade made public statements linking them to communist rebels. A writ of amparo is a legal remedy seeking a protection order while a writ of habeas data asks the Court to compel the respondent to delete or destroy damaging information.

The manifestation filed on Wednesday meant to add the matrix as another ground for their petition.

The NUPL, as well as media groups Vera Files, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and Rappler were tagged in the alleged coup plot published on the front page of The Manila Times, whose chairman emeritus is Dante Ang, current special envoy for international public relations for President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: DOJ: No basis to probe lawyers, journalists in 'oust Duterte' matrix for now)

Malacañang later confirmed it has in its possession the same matrix, and that Duterte supposedly obtained it from a foreign ally. 

For the NUPL, the tag in the matrix further endangered their safety and security. The petition named President Rodrigo Duterte as respondent in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with military top brass as co-respondents.

“The continuous attacks on the petitioners show the respondents’ disregard of the court processes and their resolve to threaten, harass, intimidate and further endanger the life, liberty and security of the petitioners,” said the NUPL in its 8-page manifestation.

The NUPL said the lawyer members named in the matrix “were obviously lifted from the brochure of the NUPL.

The matrix also identified journalist Inday Espina-Varona as an NUPL member. Varona, a member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), is not a lawyer.

“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived matrix above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the petitioners to again seek at this time for the honorable court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the NUPL said. –

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 or tweet @lianbuan.