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April 25, 2024

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) proudly acknowledges a significant legal victory following the recent Supreme Court (SC) decision junking the petition of writs filed by communist front organizations like Karapatan against former and current officials of the government, Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. said Wednesday (April 24, 2024).

On April 18, 2024, the High Court affirmed the Court of Appeal's (CA) dismissal of the Petition for Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data in the case of Karapatan et al v. Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte et al (G.R. No. 247917, previously CA-G.R No. 00067).

Besides Duterte, the named respondents in the petition are Delfin Lorenzana former Secretary of National Defense; Hermogenes Esperon former National Security Adviser; Salvador Panelo former Presidential Spokesperson; Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. former Chief of Staff of AFP; Brig. Gen. Fernando T. Trinidad former Deputy Commander for Intelligence of the AFP; Maj. Gen. Erwin Neri former Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP); Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto former Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Alex Paul Monteagudo former Director General of the NICA and a member of the National Task Force to End Local Terrorism; Vicente Agdamag former National Security Council Deputy Director General and as a member of the NTF; Senior Supt. Omega Jireh Fidel former PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management and as a member of the NTF; Maj. Gen Antonio Parlade Jr. former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations of the AFP and as a member of the NTF; Joel M. Sy Egco former Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media and Security, and as a member of the NTF; Severo Catura, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Undersecretary; and Lorraine T. Badoy former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary for News Media and External Affairs.

“This a resounding victory for the rule of law,” Torres said.

He said the NTF-ELCAC expressed deep gratitude to the High Tribunal, the Court of Appeals, and the judiciary for their unwavering commitment to justice and fairness.

"The decision serves as a vindication for the Philippine Government and its law enforcers who have faced baseless allegations of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances," Torres said.

The NTF-ELCAC’s Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) was officially notified by Ma. Theresa B. Sibulo, the Division Clerk of Court at the Supreme Court, on March 14, 2024 about the decision.

This notification reaffirms the High Court's First Division Resolution issued on November 15, 2023.

"Considering the allegations, issues, and arguments presented in the Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision dated June 28, 2019, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO.

00067, the Court resolved to DENY the Petition due to the failure of petitioners to sufficiently demonstrate any reversible error by the Court of Appeals that would warrant the exercise of this court's discretionary appellate jurisdiction," the SC stated.

Torres stressed that the NTF-ELCAC remains steadfast in upholding the rule of law and ensuring the safety and well-being of all Filipinos.

“This victory underscores the government's commitment to combating threats to national security and promoting peace and stability in the nation,” he said

In the previous CA ruling, the 14th Division, under the leadership of Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, addressed the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data filed by three groups against various government officials associated with the NTF-ELCAC.

The petitioners, to include the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Inc. and the General Assembly of Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action (Gabriela), aimed to establish accountability for Duterte, as commander-in-chief, under the doctrine of command responsibility. Also named in the petition were different government agencies in the security sector and certain individuals.

Initially brought before the SC, the case was remanded to the CA for further examination and resolution.

The CA's decision highlighted the President's duty to uphold national interests and the welfare of the people, emphasizing that there was no evidence of unlawful acts or omissions by the government that violated the petitioners' rights.

The court stressed that the issuance of writs of amparo and habeas data requires concrete grounds and clarified the President's immunity from suit in this context. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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