Supreme Court of the Philippines

SC compels police, military to explain disappearance of 2 activists

Jairo Bolledo
SC compels police, military to explain disappearance of 2 activists

MISSING. Representatives from Gabriela and Anakpawis, along with Azase Galang, protest after filing a writ of amparo at the Supreme Court on November 4, 2022.

Rappler

The High Court also issues a temporary protection order that prohibits the respondents from going within a radius of one kilometer near the petitioners and their families

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has compelled Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers, and other government officials, to explain the disappearance of two activists.

In a resolution dated November 29, and uploaded on Friday, December 9, the Supreme Court issued a writ of amparo in favor of missing activists Ma. Elena “Cha” Pampoza and Elgene “Leleng” Mungcal. The petition for the writ was filed by Pampoza’s daughter, Azase Galang, on November 4.

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.”

Pampoza and Mungcal have been missing since July this year. The activists, who are members of progressive groups Anakpawis and Gabriela, were last seen in Moncada, Tarlac.

A temporary protection order was also granted to the petitioners and their families that prohibits the respondents from going within a radius of one kilometer near the families.

The High Court, in its resolution, also asked the PNP and AFP officers to respond to the writ. The officers’ answers should focus on the following:

  • Defense. The respondents’ defenses to show that they “did not violate or threaten with violation the right to life, liberty and security of petitioners, through any act or omission.”
  • Steps taken. Steps taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the two activists should be highlighted, according to the High Court.
  • Information. “All relevant information in the possession of respondents pertaining to the threat, act, or omission against petitioners,” the SC said.
  • Actions that have been or will be taken on the following: recovery and preservation of evidence, identification of witnesses and obtaining statements from them, determining the cause and other factors surrounding the disappearance, identification and apprehension of people who could be involved, and bringing possible suspects before the courts.

Meanwhile, below is the complete list of named respondents in the writ:

Police

  • Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., PNP chief
  • Police Brigadier General Cesar Pasiwen, acting Central Luzon police chief

Military:

  • General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, AFP chief-of-staff
  • Lieutenant General Ernesto Torres Jr., AFP Northern Luzon Command chief
  • Major General Romulo Manuel, deputy chief-of-staff for Intelligence
  • Brigadier General Andrew Costelo, Philippine Army’s (PA) 7th infantry division commander
  • Brigadier General Krishnamurti Mortela, PA’s 702nd Infantry brigade commander
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jeszer Bautista, 3rd mechanized infantry battalion commander
  • Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Revilla, 790th air base group commander

Others:

  • Ricardo de Leon, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency chief
  • Susan Lazaga, private respondent

In August this year, the SC compelled the military to face in court the families of the missing activists Elizabeth “Loi’ Magbanua and Alipio “Ador” Juat. In a later decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the military was “accountable” for the disappearance of the two. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

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