SC issues another writ of amparo vs local cops

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has issued the second writ of amparo for the kin of individuals killed by local cops in relation to drugs.

A writ of amparo is a remedy that serves to protect constitutional rights perceived to be in danger.

The High Court on Tuesday, February 21, granted the writ in favor of Cristina Gonzales, widow of Joselito Gonzales who was killed July last year in an encounter with local cops from Antipolo City, Rizal.

The SC issued a protection order prohibiting Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and the following policemen from going within a radius of one kilometer from the widow:

Gonzales' petition also included President Rodrigo Duterte, but the SC's protection order excluded the President.

Mr Gonzales died from multiple gunshots on July 5, 2016 during an encounter with Police Inspector Dogwe and a certain Police Chief Inspector Garcia. It was not clear whether the encounter was a result of the police's Oplan TokHang, but according to the SC, the killing was drug-related.

"Petitioner claims that she and her husband were induced by respondents police officers to deal in drugs but that they decided, in mid-2016, to surrender and reform but that, before they could do the same, Cadag and Canilon threatened to kill them. This threat was later carried out," the SC said in a statement.

The SC said that Mrs Gonzales went into hiding and left her child behind for fear that she would be killed next.

The case has also been referred to the Court of Appeals (CA).

This is the second time that the SC has issued a writ of amparo in connection with police killings. Last January, the SC granted the same to the kin of alleged drug suspects killed in TokHang operations in Payatas in August 2016. (READ: A gruesome tale of TokHang: 'Sir, may humihinga pa')

The temporary protection order was later made permanent by the CA.

The Center for International Law (CenterLaw), which is representing the kin of Payatas victims in court, earlier said they are planning to file another case that will challenge the very legality of the entire Oplan TokHang.

Duterte suspended TokHang in January, citing a need for "internal cleansing" among the police. (READ: Dela Rosa orders: Stop war on drugs) – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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