The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has sought protection from the Supreme Court against what it claims to be a continuing government harassment of its members.
In an eight-page manifestation filed Wednesday, the NUPL submitted to the High Court the matrix released by Malacañang last Monday implicating the group as participants in the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, journalist Felipe Salvosa II resigned as Manila Times managing editor days after a matrix linking journalists and lawyers to an alleged ouster plot against Duterte was published by the paper.
Salvosa said he resigned effective Wednesday, April 24.
“I felt it was time to go after the publication of the ‘matrix’ story. I posted my thoughts on the story and the owners were displeased,” Salvosa told ABS-CBN News.
“I was asked to resign but I told them I was planning to quit anyway.”
The article about the “oust-Duterte matrix” was written by Manila Times chairman emeritus and Duterte appointee Dante Ang and published last Monday.
The Times, in a statement Thursday attributed to Ang’s son and company president Dante “Klink” Ang II, said Salvosa “did not resign; he was asked to do so.”
The paper, Ang II added, stood by its matrix story and said the oust-plot story “was not a PR piece.”
The elder Ang “was simply acting on his journalistic instincts, having been given an opportunity to write a legitimate story, that was later confirmed by the Palace,” the statement read.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo claims the source of the matrix was Duterte himself.
The NUPL said such “baseless and reckless” accusation was proof of harassment and intimidation against its officers and members.
“These malicious statements and dangerous claims, as well as the contrived matrix above, baseless and reckless as they are, compel the petitioners to again seek at this time the Honorable Court’s protection and reiterate their prayer for a temporary protection order,” the NUPL said.
In the matrix, NUPL officers and lawyers were linked to an alleged plot to oust Duterte through concerted efforts with other media groups”•Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Rappler”•to destroy the Chief Executive. The groups were accused of being behind the “Totoong Narcolist” videos.
The anonymous narrator in the videos, alias “Bikoy,” accused the President’s children Paolo and Sara and her husband Manases Carpio as well as his partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña and their daughter Kitty of benefitting from the illegal drug trade.
Bikoy alleged that Honeylet was receiving money from drug syndicates through bank accounts in the name of Kitty.
The NUPL insisted it had not participated in any anti-administration campaign as it “simply choose to practice the ideas of the legal profession by rendering services to the underprivileged as mandated by our oath and by legal, constitutional and international principles.
“The continued vilification, harassment and threats to the life, security and liberty of the petitioners must stop now. We ask your honors to stand by your lawyers,” the group said.
The group reiterated its plea in the petition for writs of Amparo and habeas data it filed earlier this month for the issuance of a temporary protection order “prohibiting state forces from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, any acts violative of the rights to life, libert, and security [of petitioners].”
It also asked the high court to order the respondents led by Duterte as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. to disclose, submit and destroy all information gathered about the petitioners.