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SC upholds amparo as remedy vs. extralegal killings, threats

The Supreme Court has upheld that the issuance of a writ of amparo is a protective remedy to provide relief against extralegal killings and threats as it ruled in favor of a widow of an extralegal killing victim.

In a statement, the high court affirmed the issuance of a writ of amparo in favor of widow Christina Gonzales whose husband, Joselito, was killed in a police drug operation in Antipolo City.

“The writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at providing judicial relief consisting of the appropriate remedial measures and directives that may be crafted by the court, in order to address specific violations or threats of violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty, or security,” the Supreme Court said.

In a decision, the court denied the petition for review filed by police officers from Antipolo City assailing the 2018 decision and 2019 resolution of the Court of Appeals, which upheld the writ of amparo issued in favor of Gonzales.

The CA decision also recommended the filing of appropriate civil, criminal, and administrative charges against the law enforcement officers, and issued a Permanent Protection Order prohibiting them from entering within a radius of one kilometer from Gzonales' residences and work addresses.

The Supreme Court said it found evidence that threats to Gonzales' life were present and that the issuance of a writ of amparo was proper after examining the totality of the evidence.

Gonzales and her husband were previously arrested for allegedly selling illegal drugs but they were released after paying P50,000 that was supposedly demanded by the police.

The high court also noted major lapses in the conduct of the police operation that resulted in the death of Joselito, leading to doubts on whether a legitimate operation took place.

It also took note of how the policemen failed to follow several directives to reopen the case.

Further, the SC said that no document was provided that the usual procedure under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act was followed when the illegal drugs were seized.

“The fact that respondent (Christina) and Joselito were previously arrested for selling illegal drugs is beside the point,” the Supreme Court said.

“As stated earlier, even if the respondent committed a crime, the petitioners, as law enforcement agents, are not at liberty to disregard the respondent’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty, and security,” it added. —KBK, GMA News