Photo by KODAO Productions

The National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) today resolved in its 5th Congress to file a series of cases against human rights violators and what it calls the infrastructure of impunity in the justice system–those who shield these perpetrators from punishment and accountability. 

The lawyers coming from various NUPL chapters nationwide also agreed to start preparing cases against Pres. Duterte in 2022.

“Our 5th Congress approved the plan for NUPL members to start preparing a series of criminal cases against State security forces who commit EJK and other human rights violations. We will also ask other lawyers groups to help in what we hope to be the filing of voluminous cases against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Our members all over the country will also file cases against members of the PNP who refuse to investigate the killings while filing harassment cases against activists. We will also file cases against witnesses who commit perjury in these trumped up charges” said NUPL Pres. Edre Olalia. 

“There have been reports of the scheme of the police of filing complaints against activists purposely using a false address so that the accused will not be able to answer the summons of the prosecutors. Should we find that prosecutors purposely and maliciously filed cases against activists without undertaking due diligence in ensuring that the accused are given the chance to counter these complaints, we will not hesitate to also file administrative cases against them”, he added.

NUPL Chair. Neri Colmenares also revealed more complaints to be filed against Pres. Duterte in international bodies such as the UN to serve as templates for cases that will be filed against him once he is out of office in 2022.

“The justice system in the Philippines is unable to provide legal remedies to victims of EJK and other human rights violations because as Pres. Duterte claims, he is immune from suit. That is why we will pursue more cases against him in the UN and other international mechanisms for now. However, these cases will serve as preparations for the domestic cases that will be filed against him once he is out of office.” Said NUPL Chairman Neri Colmenares. “Pres. Duterte cannot even promise members of the police and military that they will not go to prison because even Pres. Duterte himself cannot escape criminal accountability once he steps down from office. Section 9 of RA 9851 provides that “ official capacity as a head of state or government xxx shall in no cases exempt a person from criminal responsibility”.

“It is timely that human rights lawyers from our chapters all over the country converged today considering the escalating human rights violations and the continuing impunity. We have one message to Pres. Duterte and his police and military—we will stand our ground, we will continue to run after the perpetrators of human rights violations and we will file criminal cases against Pres. Duterte in 2022” said NUPL Secretary General Rey Cortez. “We will exhaust all legal venues, both domestic and international, to provide legal remedy to the families of victims of human rights violations.”

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers was founded September 15, 2007 as a nationwide association of human rights lawyers as well as law students, paralegals and legal workers in the Philippines united by a commitment to the defense, protection, and promotion of human rights especially of the poor and the oppressed. | 02 9206660