SC issues writ of amparo favoring anti-Oplan TokHang petitioners

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, January 31, issued a writ of amparo for the families of alleged drug suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations last year.

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

During its Tuesday en banc session, the SC issued a temporary protection order (TPO) prohibiting respondent police officers from entering within a one-kilometer radius of the petitioners, who filed the first anti-TokHang petition before the SC last week.

The order was issued against Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, QCPD Director Police Senior Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD Police Station 6 Commander P/Supt. Lito Patay, P/SI Emil Garcia, PO3 Allan Formilleza, PO1 James Aggarao and PO1 Melchor Navisaga.

The SC also directed the Court of Appeals (CA) to conduct a hearing on the petition seeking the suspension of anti-illegal drug operations in areas covered by the QCPD Station 6.

The CA has to decide within 10 days after the case is submitted for decision.

The High Court also ordered the respondents to submit its comment to the petition by filing a return of the writ before the CA.

Police persecution

The petition stems from an incident on August 21, 2016, where cops from the Quezon City Police District Station 6 killed 4 men while conducting Oplan TokHang in Group 9, Area B, Payatas, Quezon City.

Efren Morillo, one of the petitioners, survived the gunshots. The other petitioners are Martino Morillo, Victoria Morillo, Ma. Belen Daa, Marla Daa, Maribet Bartolay, Lydia Gabo, Jennifer Nicolas and Marilyn Malimban.

Lawyer Romel Bagares said that in seeking a writ of amparo, the petitioners want protection from police persecution.

“They are terrified for their own lives and the lives of their family members, relatives and loved ones because the perpetrators keep returning to intimidate and harass them into silence,” the petition read.

Aside from a temporary restraining order to stop anti-drug operations in their barangay, the petitioners are also seeking an order for the PNP to produce and allow the inspection of surveillance reports and other documents on police operations conducted on August 21, 2016. – Rappler.com