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SC issues 2nd writ of amparo in favor of kin of ‘Oplan Tokhang’ victims in Antipolo

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday issued a protection order granting a second writ of amparo petition filed by another family of an “Oplan Tokhang” victim in Antipolo City.

The petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo petition seeks to protect the families of ‘Tokhang’ victims whose rights to life, liberty and security are violated or threatened from alleged harassment and intimidation by the police.

Covered by the protective writ is the family of Joselito Gonzales who died of multiple gunshot wounds in July last year in Antipolo City.

The temporary protection order (TPO) has been issued against respondents namely Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueño, Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa, Chief Superintendent Valfrie Tabian, Senior Superintendent Adriano Enong, Superintendent Simnar Semacio Gran, Inspector Dogwe, Allen Cadag, Mark Riel Canilon, and several John Does coming from the Antipolo City Police Station (CPS) Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (PNP AIDSOTF) and Provincial Special Operating Unit Team.

The high court also prohibited the respondents from entering within a radius of one kilometer from the petitioner’s residence and work.

The case is also remanded to the Court of Appeals for a hearing and the respondents were given five working days to make a verified return.

The appeals court has been given 10 days after the hearing to issue a ruling.

Gonzales’ wife, Christina, claimed that she and her husband “were induced by respondent police officers to deal in drugs.

However, in mid-2016, they decided to surrender and reform but before they could do the same, Cadag and Canilon threatened to kill them.

Christina said because of the threat, she has gone into hiding since then, leaving her child behind for fear that she will be killed next.

The Court earlier issued the first writ of amparo and protection order in favor a survivor and relatives of a tokhang operation in Payatas, Quezon City last January.

Last Feb. 10, The Court of Appeals granted the Writ of Amparo petition filed by Center for International Law on behalf of the families of slain drug suspects in “Oplan Tokhang” operations in Payatas, Quezon City in August last year.

In a three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas and was concurred by Associate Justices Danton Bueser and Renato Francisco, the CA’s 14th Division granted the writ to protect the families of ‘Tokhang’ victims whose rights to life, liberty and security are violated or threatened from alleged harassment and intimidation by the police.

The CA also adopted the Supreme Court’s directive to prohibit the respondent police officers and their agents from entering within a radius of one kilometer from the residence and work addresses of the petitioners.

The petition was originally filed before the Supreme Court. The high court issued a temporary protection order (TPO) and ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct a hearing.

The high court also prevented operatives of Station 6, which conducted the operation in the area in August last year, from entering the residence and workplaces of petitioners within a one-kilometer radius.

In CA resolution, there being no dispute that the allegations in the petition are supported by substantial evidence, the privilege of the writ is granted the following dispositions:

”The Temporary Protection Order is converted to a permanent one. The prohibition from entering within a radius of one (1) kilometer from the residences and work addresses of the petitioners shall cover respondents P/SI Emil S. Garcia, P03 Allan Formilleza, P01 James Aggarao and P01 Melchor Navisaga and any of their agents,” the CA stated.

The CA ordered the reassignment of respondent policemen, Senior Inspector Emil Garcia, PO3 Allan Formilleza, PO1 James Aggarao and PO1 Melchor Navisaga, to police offices outside Quezon City and Montalban, Rizal while the implementation of Oplan Tokhang shall remain suspended with respect to the petitioners.

President Rodrigo Duterte has stopped the PNP from conducting “tokhang” operations after several policemen figured in questionable anti-drug operations, the latest of which was the abduction-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo on October 18, 2016. PNA-northboundasia.com

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