The respondent police officers are reminded to uphold the rights of citizens as contained in the Constitution as well as conduct investigations in accordance with their promulgated manuals including the Ethical Doctrine Manual,” said SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the decision.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
SC issues protection order for rebel’s widow
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has issued a permanent protection order (PPO) prohibiting members of the Philippine National Police from monitoring and conducting surveillance on the family of a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was gunned down in Antique province. 

 In a 19-page decision dated Oct. 15, 2019 but made public only yesterday, the SC granted the issuance of a PPO to prevent policemen from keeping a watchful eye on Vivian Sanchez and her two children.

Eight of the SC magistrates voted in favor while  five dissented. Associate Justice Jose Reyes Jr. was on leave. 

“The respondent police officers are reminded to uphold the rights of citizens as contained in the Constitution as well as conduct investigations in accordance with their promulgated manuals including the Ethical Doctrine Manual,” said SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the decision.   

Sanchez is the estranged wife of Eldie Labinghisa, who along with six other suspected NPA members, was killed by policemen in Barangay Atabay, Antique.  

“While pursuing rebels is a legitimate law enforcement objective, the zeal of our police must be bound by the fundamental rights of persons, especially the loved ones of persons in interest. After all, the values we have in our Constitution are what differentiate us from lawless elements,” the SC said.  

The SC ordered police Lt. Colonels Marc Anthony Darroca and Leo Irwin Agpangan, Police Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao, and the police officers under their authority to abide by the PPO. 

 Court records showed that on Aug. 16, 2018, Sanchez learned that her estranged husband Labinghisa was among seven alleged members of the NPA who were gunned down by the PNP in Antique. 

 She went to the funeral home to verify the news of her husband’s death, but she became afraid and left the area without verifying his identity when police officers stationed there took her photos without permission. 

 She returned the following day to the funeral home but she was confronted by three policemen who threatened to apprehend and charge her with obstruction of justice if she refused to answer their questions. Again fearing for her safety, she left the funeral parlor without confirming the identity of her husband.  

 Later that day, two police officers went to Vivian’s house and showed her a photo of a cadaver. She confirmed the dead body as Labinghisa. 

 In the following days, she and her children noticed that the drive-by of a police car in front of her house become more frequent. She also claimed that a vehicle tailed her and her family when they went to Iloilo to attend her husband’s wake. She also noticed someone shadowing her when she was outside her house, causing her to fear for her and her children’s safety.

 Considering that Darroca only issued a blanket denial that he did not direct his officers to tail or monitor Vivian and her family, and did not even present affidavits from his police officers to support his claim, the SC concluded that Vivian was not imagining the threats against her and her family.

 “The totality of obtaining circumstances likewise shows that Vivian and her children were the subject of surveillance because of their relationship with a suspected member of the New People’s Army, creating a real threat to their life, liberty or security,” the high court added.

 On Aug. 24, 2018, Sanchez filed before the Regional Trial Court of San Jose, Antique a petition for writ of amparo against the police officers, but the lower court dismissed the petition.

 

ETHICAL DOCTRINE MANUAL NPA PPA SC
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