Relatives and colleagues of missing activist James Balao asked the Benguet Regional Trial Court to give teeth to its decision on the petition for writ of amparo.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Posted by Bulatlat
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Relatives and colleagues of missing activist James Balao asked the Benguet Regional Trial Court to give teeth to its decision on the petition for writ of amparo.
The writ of amparo is a legal remedy for any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened. Balao has been missing since September 17, 2008, and is believed to have been abducted by state security forces.
The petition for the writ of amparo was filed by the Balao’s family and Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in October 2008.
In a decision promulgated January 19, the Regional Trial Court-Branch 63 found substantial evidence to link Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano, PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, P/Dir. Edgardo Doromal, Maj. Gen. Isagani Cachuela and Senior Supreintendent Eugene Martin, to the abduction and continued disappearance of activist James Balao.
The court’s 13-page decision directed the respondents to “(a) disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, (b) to release James Balao considering his unlawful detention since his abduction and (c) to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person.”
The Balao family and the CPA through their counsel, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) filed February 3 a motion to execute its judgment on the said petition for amparo.
The crux of the motion sought an order that would now compel respondent government officials to immediately release Balao, including the respondents’ disclosure of the place of his detention and “to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon the person of Balao.”
Anchored on Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the NUPL lawyers who signed the motion were Manja Bayang and Rex Lampa, among the seven lawyers representing the petitioners.
Bayang said, however, there is yet no date set by Judge Benigno M. Galacgac for hearing the motion but she expects the hearing to be held after the Office of the Solicitor General submit its comments. The Solicitor General appears for the respondent government officials.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) welcomed the filing of the motion for the execution of judgment.
Jude Baggo, CHRA secretary-general, said in a statement, “With the granting of the writ of amparo for James Balao last January 19, we demand that he be surfaced immediately by the respondents in the case.”
He added that Arroyo and the other respondents should in the soonest possible time bring Balao back to his family, friends and colleagues and should stop from inflicting harm on him and “respect and protect his civil and constitutional rights and liberty.”
The CHRA said they have tried all possible means to locate Balao including the asking of support of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID) and Chairperson Leila de Lima of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Baggo said that a reliable source reported to the CHR-Cordillera Administrative Region that Balao was brought to a military safe house in Cabinet Hill here. Northern Dispatch/ Posted by Bulatlat.com