Edre U. Olalia, NUPL secretary general, said they would hold the military and the police and Commander-in-Chief President Aquino himself accountable if any harm is inflicted on Salucon.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A human rights lawyer who has been a target of surveillance by suspected state agents filed this morning April 11 a petition for a writ of amparo and writ of habeas data before the Court of Appeals (CA).
Isabela-based lawyer Catherine D. Salucon is seeking protection against “threats to her life, liberty and security” allegedly perpetrated by elements of the police and military.
The writ of amparo is a remedy available to relatives of victims of extralegal killings, enforced disappearances or victims of threats. The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy, life, liberty or security is violated or threatened.
According to human rights group Karapatan, Salucon was with William Bugatti in the morning of March 24. Both attended a hearing of political prisoners Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz in Lagawe, Ifugao. On the same night, Buggati, a human rights defender, was killed by suspected state agents.
In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said Salucon learned that he is being tailed by members of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp). The NUPL, of which Salucon is a member, also said that Salucon learned that the Regional Intelligence Division of the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued a directive to the PNP of Burgos, Isabela, Salucon’s hometown, to conduct a background investigation and to confirm whether Salucon is a “red Lawyer.”
Salucon is seeking temporary protection for her and her family. She is also asking the court to direct the respondents and any persons acting on their behalf to destroy any information, statements, records, photographs, dossier and all other evidences pertaining to her in their files or record.
Named respondents included President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Philippine Army Commanding General Gen. Hernando Irriberri, and Commanding General of the 5th Infantry Division of the AFP Gen. Joel Ibanez.
“Everyone who stands by the people becomes a target of the Aquino regime,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said.
“Political opponents, including activists and NDFP consultants for the peace negotiations are charged with trumped-up criminal cases, if not killed or disappeared. The very few lawyers who are willing to defend the poor and victims of human rights violations are now themselves being subjected to human rights violations,” Palabay said.
The NUPL said Salucon has been taking on the defense of several political detainees and most of her clients are members of peasant and other people’s organizations.
“The harassment and surveillance of Atty. Salucon is not only a violation of her rights but also of the right of the people to counsel, especially the poor who are falsely charged,” Palabay said.