Writ Of Amparo Gives New Hope To Human Rights Groups In RP

October 1, 2007 at 11:05 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 1, 2007) — A Filipino human rights group on Monday praised the Supreme Court for upholding the Writ of Amparo that would protect citizens from human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.

Kelley Delgado, Karapatan Secretary General, said the Writ of Amparo is a remedy made available for the victims of human rights abuses and to the worsening human rights situation in the country.

“As human rights defender, the Writ of Amparo is a welcome step particularly to the victims of human rights abuses. This will block the military to invoke in their defense the ‘presumption of regularity’, Delgado said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

The presumption of regularity, he said, is often used as an excuse by the military that official duty has been regularly performed to evade responsibility or liability and will further bar officers in judicial proceedings to issue denial answers regarding petitions on extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

He said as the writ of Amparo which will take effect on October 24 will compel state agents to look for the missing person or surface those who are believed to be in their hands.

“The decision will hopefully make the military and its cohorts to rethink their attacks against human rights, if not really stop them from perpetuating these abuses,” Delgado said.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno officially announced the approval of the Writ of Amparo last month.

Amparo, a Spanish word that means protection is a Mexican legal procedure that aimed at protecting human rights. The “recurso de amparo” is an exhaustive remedy which originated from Latin America’s Mexican, Chile and Argentina legal systems.

Mexico’s Amparo is found in Articles 103 and 107 of the Mexican Constitution — the judicial review of governmental action, to empower state courts to protect individuals against state abuses.

“The law now allows kin of human rights victims to file and invoke the petition before the Regional Trial Court of the place where the threat, act or omission was omitted. The writ shall be enforceable anywhere,” Delgado said.

Karapatan said that since President Gloria Arroyo became president in 2001, there have close to 1,000 extra-judicial executions and hundreds of abductions, mostly political activists.

Amnesty International and the United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston have reported similar findings.

Militant and left-wing groups have blamed the military for the killings and other human rights violations as part of the government’s counterinsurgency program.

The United States also expressed concern that US aid to the Philippine military and police is being used to commit the killings.

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