The National Union of People’s Lawyers continues to refute Malacanang’s claims that they are working with journalists from Rappler and Vera Files to oust President Duterte.
Speaking at an event in Vancouver, the NUPL finds the accusations hilarious but there’s nothing funny about the government’s red tagging of their group.
This is the response that the NUPL posted on their Facebook page after their group was accused of working with Rappler and Vera Files in collaborating with communist groups to destabilize the Philippine government.
The NUPL found the accusation against them hilarious, hence this response.
“He seems to be what he’s not, you see. He wants to be king with a crown.”
Despite this, NUPL President Edre Olalia insists there’s nothing funny about the Philippine government’s red-tagging of their group.
The Philippine Supreme Court has issued a writ of Amparo and a writ of habeas data in favor of the NUPL.
But to strengthen their position, the NUPL launched a signature campaign asking international lawyers to stand with them.
“It sends a message that they will not allow these kinds of reckless accusations against their fellow lawyers to succeed and they are telling the whole world and especially the Philippine government that they are watching the case, that they are not going to take it sitting down.”
NUPL president and Atty. Edre Olalia spoke before a group here in Vancouver to clarify that they do not just defend political prisoners the way government paints them to be.
Apart from other issues of public interest, e says their lawyers also defend the rights of poor people especially those in far-flung areas in the Philippines.
Olalia now fears for the safety of their lesser-known members because of their red-tagging.
“What I’m scared of is our members who are out there in the regions plodding quietly, not in public, not known, which is a protection, having no linkages in the international community, in the international legal organizations.”
To date, more than 100 Filipinos and international lawyers have already signed to show their solidarity.
Olalia believes their support will have an impact on the response of the government and the courts.
“There are certain principles that must be respected and if the courts will assert their independence, we are hopeful that we can have relief. If the president does not respond positively, then that’s his lookout. He will go down in history as a lawyer who himself does not respect the rights and responsibilities that are accompanying one’s profession.”
The case is now pending before the Philippine court of appeals.