DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) revealed on Saturday (Oct.19) that they will be preparing series of cases against “human rights violators”, including State security forces and President Rodrigo Duterte once he steps down in 2022.
This was the consensus among human rights lawyer across the country during the NUPL’s 5th Congress in Manila.
“Our 5th Congress approved the plan for NUPL members to start preparing a series of criminal cases against State security forces who commit EJK (extra-judicial killings) and other human rights violations,” NUPL President Edre Olalia said in a statement.
He added that they will also ask other lawyers’ groups to help in the filing of numerous cases against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
NUPL members will also be filing charges against Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel who refuse to investigate the killings.
The lawyers’ group also will be filing harassment cases against activists and State witnesses who commit perjury to support “trumped up charges.”
Olalia said that they will also file cases against police personnel allegedly filing complaints against activists “purposely” using a false address so that the accused not to be able to answer the summons of the prosecutors.
“Should we find that prosecutors purposely and maliciously filed cases against activists without undertaking due diligence in ensuring that the accused are given the chance to counter these complaints, we will not hesitate to also file administrative cases against them,” he said.
Charges to be filed vs Pres Duterte
Meanwhile, former lawmaker and NUPL Chairperson Neri Colmenares, also bared that there will more complaints to be filed against President Duterte in international bodies, such as the United Nations (UN) “to serve as templates for cases that will be filed against him once he is out of office in 2022.”
“The justice system in the Philippines is unable to provide legal remedies to victims of EJK and other human rights violations because as President Duterte claims, he is immune from suit. That is why we will pursue more cases against him in the UN and other international mechanisms for now. However, these cases will serve as preparations for the domestic cases that will be filed against him once he is out of office,” Colmenares explained.
He added that President Duterte cannot promise members of the police and military that they will not go to prison because he himself cannot escape criminal accountability once he steps down from office.
Section 9 of RA 9851 provides that “official capacity as a head of state or government shall in no cases exempt a person from criminal responsibility.”
The NUPL also expressed alarm at the worsening human rights violations and continuing impunity in the country under the Duterte administration.
Human rights group Karapatan has documented over 200 cases of individuals killed in the implementation of government’s counterinsurgency campaigns Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Kapanatagan.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), on July, adopted a resolution seeking to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines.
“We have one message to President Duterte and his police and military: We will stand our ground, we will continue to run after the perpetrators of human rights violations and we will file criminal cases against Pres. Duterte in 2022,” NUPL Secretary General Rey Cortez said. (davaotoday.com)