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PAHRA Welcomes the Promulgation of Rules on the Writ of Amparo

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The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), a FORUM-ASIA member organisation in the Philippines, welcomes the promulgation of the rules on the writ of amparo by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA), a FORUM-ASIA
member organisation, welcomed the promulgation of the rule on the writ
of amparo by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. In its press
statement dated 26 September 2007, PAHRA expressed its sincere
appreciation for the Supreme Court’s “judicial activism” and for
placing the right of Filipinos to life, liberty, and security as its
paramount concern.

The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to individuals
whose right to life, liberty, and security, has been violated or is
being threatened with a violation through an unlawful act or omission
by private entities or public officers. The rule on the petition was
promulgated pursuant to the power of the Supreme Court under the
Philippine Constitution to “promulgate rules concerning the protection
and enforcement of constitutional rights.”1 Moreover, this
rule is also an outcome of the National Consultative Summit on
Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances, which was initiated
by the Supreme Court and held on 16 July 2007. During this summit,
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno said that the judiciary “has decided to
unsheathe its unused power to enact rules to protect the constitutional
rights of [the Filipino] people.” 2

The writ of amparo originates from Latin America, where it first
appeared in Mexico as a remedy against acts perpetrated by public
authorities that violate individual guarantees under the Mexican
Constitution. The writ as a remedy against violations of rights
eventually spread throughout the region (e.g. Bolivia, Chile, Costa
Rica, Ecuador and more). However, each country has its own variation of
the writ and does not emulate the comprehensive scope of the Mexican
variation. The Philippine variation covers only the right to life,
liberty, and security.

The rule on the writ of amparo will take effect in the Philippines on
24 October 2007. In its statement, PAHRA expressed the hope that this
rule, which requires a higher standard of diligence from public
authorities in the performance of their duties, will finally put an end
to the rampant extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in
the Philippines.

1 PHIL. CONST. art. VIII, § 5(5).
2 Keynote speech delivered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno on the occasion of the National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances at the Centennial Hall, Manila Hotel, 16 July 2007.