Lawyers' group seeks protection from SC vs. Duterte, gov't officials

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National Union of People's Lawyers President Edre Olalia

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) has sought protection from the Supreme Court against President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials over supposed violation on their rights to life, liberty, and security.

In their writ of amparo petition filed Monday, members of the NUPL said they tagged the President and other officials as respondents because of their "participation and position in the implementation of the government's all-out war policy" against progressive groups, political activists, and those they perceive as supporters or sympathizers of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army.

Among the respondents is BGen. Antonio Parlade, whom the petitioners accused of "wild red-tagging." Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff for civil military operations, previously said the CPP recruits members from universities through screenings of martial law films.

In March, he also said the European Union has been unknowingly releasing funds to communist rebels through their organizational fronts.

READ: AFP official: CPP recruits in Manila schools through martial law film screenings

Other respondents include Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal and other military officials.

They said this is clearly intended to intimidate and prevent them from pursuing their profession as lawyers and from practicing their advocacy as peoples' lawyers serving the poor and the marginalized.

"Lawyering is not terrorism. The cause of the client and the case that we're handling should not be associated with us. General parlade should do his homework we've been in existence for 12 years," NUPL President Edre Olalia told reporters.

In the meantime, they want the court to issue a temporary protection order to prohibit the President and other officials from "threatening or committing any acts against them."

Petitioners are also asking the court to compel the respondents under the writ of habeas data to produce and if necessary to destroy all information about them.