SC nullifies writ of amparo for Gatdula
MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC), in its en banc session today, unanimously nullified the orders of a Manila trial court that granted former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula's petition for a Writ of Amparo in connection with the attempted ambush on his Deputy Director, Reynaldo Esmeralda.
"In GR 204528 De Lima vs. Gatdula, the SC today unanimously nullified all orders of Judge Silvino Pampilo in relation to the writ of amparo sought by Gatdula and granted by the judge. The SC found several irregularities in the judge's appreciation of the rules on the writ of amparo which in turn affected De Lima's choice of appeal," the SC, through its Public Information Office (PIO), said.
The high court also nullified Judge Pampilo's acts and directed him to determine within 48 hours from receipt of the resolution whether the issuance of the writ of amparo is proper.
The writ of amparo is "a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or is threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity."
In issuing the writ in March 2012, Judge Pampilo of Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26 directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) and NBI to "cease and desist from further threatening his life and security and that of his family's."
Gatdula filed the petition for a Writ of Amapro following the foiled ambush incident on NBI Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda. He claimed he was being framed for the ambush.
In his 4-page decision, Judge Pampilo held that "the mere communication to petitioner (Gatdula) of an intent to inflict harm should already bring about the issuance of a Writ of Amparo. As testified to by petitioner's witnesses, armed men have been looking for petitioner in his neighborhood, as well as on places he visits."
De Lima said she felt "vindicated" by the high court's ruling.
She stressed that she felt slighted to be subject of a Writ of Amparo case when she is former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) who swore to uphold the human rights of everyone.
"Of course, I feel extremely vindicated by such ruling. In all sincerity and candor, I expected nothing less from the Supreme Court -- that Writ of Amparo, in all its being, deserves to be struck down as a patent abuse of judicial authority. The RTC's act of issuing such writ borders on the absurd, if not insane.
"Imagine accusing the SOJ, a former CHR Chair, of plotting to liquidate the former NBI Director, the petitioner in the case before the RTC. That, essentially, was the meat of his amparo petition with the RTC. And the writ of amparo, as issued by the RTC, is a flagrant abuse of such an extraordinary writ available only in genuine cases of violations of the right to life, liberty and security," De Lima said, in a statement.
The decision in the Gatdula case was penned by Associate Justice Marivic Leonen.