IBP to lawyers: Actively intervene

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Atty. Abdiel Fajardo on Monday reminded lawyers to “actively intervene in the perceived disregard of the rule of law and seeming attack on democratic institutions.”

The Inquirer reports that the IBP is now gearing up to capacitate lawyers in offering legal services to “victims of human rights violations and their families, especially to the poor and marginalized.”

Fajardo adds that lawyers have not been leading the charge because they have not had access to the victims nor the capacity to “take on the peculiarities” of handling human rights cases.

Looking past that sobering update on the state of lawyering in the country, this is a welcome, if belated, development. A commitment like this would galvanize efforts to facilitate the claiming of justice for families of the victims of human rights violations. This can also encourage more victims to come forward, knowing that there will be lawyers willing to take them on.

CHR Commissioner Cadiz calls Duterte an EJK advocate

On that same presscon, CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz did not mince words, describing the president as someone who “openly advocates Extra-Judicial Killings.”

“Justice, human rights, and the rule of law are being mocked by a lawyer aided and abetted by other lawyers,” he adds.

Strong words from the commissioner – and entirely accurate – given the administration’s concerted efforts to destabilize the government’s check and balance mechanisms as represented by the Senate (Opposition Senator Leila De Lima is now imprisoned), the Supreme Court (See the ongoing impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno) and the Office of the Ombuds(wo)man (ramping up threats of impeachment against Conchita Carpio-Morales).

Alleged Marawi abuse cases continue to rise

The Inquirer reports on Kalinaw Mindanao’s fact-finding mission held on Nov. 16-17 that revealed “56 more cases of alleged abuse committed during the war on terror in Marawi City.”

This is in addition to the 309 cases that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) already agreed to investigate. Among the violations documented by Kalinaw Mindanao attributed to the military are “indiscriminate firing, illegal arrest, harassment and intimidation, destruction of property, violation of domicile and theft or looting.”

AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla earlier told the media that the military will investigate allegations against soldiers involved in Marawi.

Weekend Reading: Rappler’s review of government circulars on the ‘war on drugs’

The Supreme Court this week held oral arguments on the petition of a lawyers’ group to render the government’s ‘war on drugs’ as unconstitutional. The petition filed by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) cites the Philippine National Police (PNP) Command Memorandum Circular No. 16-2016 and the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2017-112.

PNP’s Circular No. 16-2016 “essentially discusses how Project Double Barrel will be operationalized or implemented” while DILG’s MC No. 2017-112 implemented MASA MASID or the Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga.

Recall that on October, FLAG filed petitions for injunction and prohibition against these two circulars. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments from the petitioners and the government, represented by Solicitor General Jose Calida. The Supreme Court set the next date for oral arguments on Nov. 28.

Read the Rapper piece here.

PhilRights Executive Director Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan, DrPH elected as PAHRA Chair

Big congratulations to our executive Director, Prof. Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan, DrPH who was elected as the new chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) at the recently held 11th PAHRA Congress. She succeeds OIC Chairperson Sr. Cres Lucero.

This week on PhilRights.org

On Blogging Rights, we offered some useful insights for understanding adults’ views on children and how that plays into advocating for Children’s Rights. Read our post here.

As we marked Universal Children’s Day on Monday, November 20, we also released a longform piece outlining the many ways Children’s Rights are being violated under the guise of this administration’s “war on drugs.” Read our inFOCUS piece here.

Also on inFOCUS, find out how Gary Granada and the League of Authors of Public Interest Songs are paving the way for millennials to make music for the public good. Check out our interview here.


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