Friday, December 4, 2009

Ampatuans Get Amparo--Are We Going The Way of Mexico?

In October 2007, the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines (SCoRP) promulgated the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
Well today, to the consternation of many, the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City has approved a Petition for Writ of Amparo on behalf of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao. The Respondents are no less than the top military and police officers in charge of securing the province of Maguindanao following the infamous massacre of 57 Mangudadatu foes, journalists, lawyers last week.

What many observers rightfully fear in this development is that AMPARO in the Philippines may go the way it went in its South American points of origin, such as MEXICO. Here is an article from TIME Magazine (published December 18, 1950!) --
TIME Magazine -- Mexico: Good While It Lasted
An amparo (literally: protection) is a Mexican legal confection with elements of habeas corpus, stay of execution and injunction, all rolled into one. Anyone who feels that he has been or is about to be the victim of unjust police or court action may apply for an amparo. By its terms, no arrest may be made or judgment executed in a specific case until the court issuing the amparo has had a chance to review the case and decide whether the agency involved is acting within the law. Its great advantage from the lawbreaker's point of view is that the huge backlog of amparo cases virtually guarantees a three-to four-month delay before a hearing. When the time is nearly up, the shady character can find another judge and get another amparo.
Philippine Commentary covered the launch of the Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data with a great deal of skepticism and trepidation--which now seem quite justified. Sadly!

Related: Two Writs Don't Make a Right
Philippine Commentaries on Amparo

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