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Calls to surface 2 labor organizers brought to Supreme Court

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Calls to surface 2 labor organizers brought to Supreme Court
Members of Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno and other groups on Wednesday staged a protest in front of the Supreme Court as families of Magbanua and Juat filed a Petition seeking the issuance of a Writ of Amparo for the two labor organizers.
JUCRA pool photo

MANILA, Philippines — Families of two community organizers Loi Magbanua and Ador Juat pleaded to the Supreme Court to issue a protection writ for their loved ones who they claim have been in military custody since May 3.

Members of Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno and other groups on Wednesday staged a protest in front of the Supreme Court as relatives of Magbanua and Juat filed a petition seeking the issuance of a Writ of Amparo for the two labor organizers.

The writ of amparo is a protection extended to petitioners when threats to their life, liberty and security emanate from the military, police and other state security forces. It covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.

They also sought the issuance of the Temporary Protection Order for their families and an Inspection Order that would allow them to look through Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City and Fort Magsaysay in Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija, where they fear Magbanua and Juat are being held against their will.

Named as respondents are armed forces chief Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Jose Faustino Jr., National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Director General Ricardo de Leon and five others from the military.

The case

Magbanua and Juat are full-time community organizers for labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Petitioners said the two were incommunicado for days after a meeting with workers in Valenzuela on May 3, prompting KMU to launch fact-finding missions.

Juat’s daughter Marielle said her father visited her on May 14, but she said he was acting differently. He also visited her sister on her birthday on May 27 and told her he was staying at Camp Aguinaldo, without giving further details.

On Juat's fourth visit to Marielle, on July 1, Petitioner Maureen said she was able to talk to her father where she learned the following, as submitted in the plea:

My father told my sister than on May 3, 2022 he and Loi attended a meeting in Valenzuela. That right after meeting, they decided to go home together. When they reached the main road, they saw two vehicles on the side of the road. Suddenly, unidentified men grabbed both of them. He fought back but two heavily built men embraced him tightly and forced him inside one of the waiting vehicles.

Meanwhile, Magbanua has been incommunicado since May 3.

His family filed a blotter report and sought help from the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an inspection of Camp Aguinaldo, but were told they would not be allowed to conduct a search of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters.

'Held against their will'

"Respondents and their agents and others acting on their behalf evidently violated and continue to violate the rights to life, liberty and security of [Juat and Magbanua]," the petitioners told the SC.

Magbanuan is still missing and petitioners said this is proof of the continuing violation of these immutable rights.

The petitioners also contended that even if Juat was able to visit his daughter and talk to his family do "not mean his right of liberty has not been violated and is continuously being violated" since he may be under duress. 

"The fact remains that both Loi and Ador are victims of enforced disappearance," they said.

Ador's daughters also said that if their father has freedom of movement, he would not be staying at Camp Aguinaldo, but instead would be organizing workers as he has been doing all his life.

SUPREME COURT

WRIT OF AMPARO

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