A temporary protection order (TPO) has been issued by the Supreme Court (SC) for two activists and community organizers who have been reported missing since last July 3 and allegedly in the custody of either the police or the military.
In a Writ of Amparo issued last Nov. 29 and made public on Friday, the SC also issued TPO for the families of Ma. Elena “Cha” Cortez Pampoza of Anakpawis and Elgene “Leleng” Mungcal of Gabriela Women’s Partylist.
Pampoza and Mungcal were last seen at Winfare Supermarket in Moncada, Tarlac last July 3.
The issuance of TPO came after the petition for a Writ of Amparo was filed last Nov. 4 on their behalf by Azase Galang, daughter of Pampoza. A copy of the petition was not available as of posting.
In granting the TPO, the SC barred the military and police officials “from going within a radius of one (1) kilometer of petitioners (Pampoza and Mungcal) and their immediate families.”
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.”
Among those named respondents in the petition were Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Maj. Gen. Romulo Manuel, in his capacity as the Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Intelligence (J-2) of the AFP; Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres, Jr., in his capacity as the Commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM); PGen. Rodolfo Azurin, in his capacity as the Director General/Chief of the Philippine National Police; and PBGen. Cesar R. Pasiwen, in his capacity as the Acting Regional Director of Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) with an area of responsibility over Central Luzon.
The respondents were ordered to file their comment within 20 days from receipt of the SC resolution.
Among other issues, the SC said the comment should contain “the lawful defenses to show that respondents did not violate or threaten with violation the right to life, liberty and security of petitioners, through any act or omission; the steps or actions taken by respondents to determine the fate or whereabouts of Ma. Elena ‘Cha’ Cortez Pampoza, and Elgene ‘Leleng’ Mungcal, and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act, or omission; and all relevant information in the possession of respondents pertaining to the threat, act, or omission against petitioners.”
The SC also required the respondents to submit their “actions that have been or will still be taken to recover and preserve evidence related to the disappearance of Ma. Elena ‘Cha’ Cortez Pampoza, and Elgene ‘Leleng’ Mungcal, which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible; to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the disappearances; to determine the cause, manner, location, and time of disappearance, as well as any pattern or practice that may have brought about the disappearances; to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in their disappearance; and to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.”