Palace advises Picardal to use legal remedies amid death threat claim

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque advised Fr. Amado Picardal to use legal remedies if death threats towards the latter are, indeed, proven.

In a media briefing Tuesday, Roque told Picardal to file before the Supreme Court a writ of amparo, instead of publicly declaring that his life is in danger.

"His remedy is to file a writ of amparo with the Supreme Court or any court. It can be filed even in the lower courts. And it could be acted upon expeditiously," Roque told reporters.

"Si Father, tama na po yang pagdedeklara na may banta sa buhay mo, gamitin niyo na po yung mga remedyong legal na nariyan," he said.

(Translation: Father, please stop declaring that your life is in danger. Just use the legal remedies available.)

"Mabibigyan kayo ng proteksyon kung talagang may ebidensyang may banta sa buhay ninyo," he added.

(Translation: That will give you protection if there is, indeed, an evidence of that death threat.)

According to the Philippine Constitution, the petition for a writ of amparo "is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act."

Call for safety

The Redemptorist priest, through a personal blog post on Sunday, claimed that a group of unidentified motorcycle-clad men was out to kill him for being vocal against the extrajudicial killings in the country.

He suspected they were members of a certain death squad under the administration.

"Two weeks ago (August 11), I almost became a victim of extrajudicial killing and the 4th priest to be killed under the Duterte Regime had I stuck to my routine," Picardal wrote on his page. "I always knew that my life would be at risk and I have accepted this as a consequence of fulfilling my prophetic mission. I am not afraid of death."

Roque, however, maintained there are no death squads in the country, and asked the priest to "stop with the media declarations."

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party, in a statement, called on authorities to ensure the safety of Picardal.

"We have witnessed servants of God and servants of the people being gunned down in the past, and justice has not been served," said Liberal Party Vice President on External Affairs Erin Tañada.

"Without arrests and punishments, the killers, including the so-called death squad, are free to roam around, waiting for command on who their next victim would be," he said.

Picardal has been critical about President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, and has also assisted investigators in looking into the administration's extrajudicial killings.

CNN Philippines reached out to the Cebu City Redemptorist monastery community. However, no one was authorized to speak on Picardal's claims.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer Alyssa Rola and Cebu-based journalist Dale Israel contributed to this report.