EIGHT human rights groups and four family members of slain activists have submitted recommendations to the Supreme Court on increasing people’s protection against red-tagging or being labeled as a communist armed rebel, “search warrant factories,” and extrajudicial killings.
The recommendations, contained in a May 18 letter, relate to the High Court’s recent condemnation on the attacks on lawyers and judges, and its assurance that it will “act decisively when it is clear that injustices are done.”
The groups called for the following: a review on the rules on writs meant to protect one’s right; create new rules to ensure the timely receipt of subpoenas and criminal complaints; make a repository of criminal charges; amend rules on the issuance of search warrants; and to investigate the so-called search warrant factories, referring to lower courts that have been issuing multiple search warrants and are allegedly “weaponized” by government forces to silence activists and critics.
The rights groups said these concerns stem from the “unchecked powers of the Executive (branch of government),” and “require an immediate response from the Honorable Court as the protector of constitutional rights.”
They also said the “attacks against human rights lawyers violate the basic principle that lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.”
Further, they said “that it is equally important for the Honorable Court to look into the attacks suffered by the clients (of the human rights lawyers) and to understand the overarching government policies that cause them.” — Bianca Angelica D. Añago