State lawyers hit NUPL over amparo suit at appeals court

State lawyers at the Court of Appeals on Thursday objected to the deliberate flaunting of the preset court rules by the National Union of People’s Lawyers in connection with the latter’s petition for an amparo suit against the government.

The appellate court terminated its hearings Thursday, and the magistrates announced that they considered the case submitted for resolution after the Office of the Solicitor General said the government did not intend to call any witness over its case.

Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Villanueva-Miranda and Associate Solicitor Marlon Bosantog made known their continuing objection that the NUPL failed to observe the previously agreed upon an arrangement that counsels would provide a copy of the witnesses’ judicial affidavits at least five days before the scheduled hearing.

Copies of the judicial affidavits of NUPL Panay chief Rene Estocapio and former senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares were sent on July 16. Bosantog said that “while they are not averse to conducting a cross-examination on the witnesses,” ignoring the rule would violate the procedural right to due process of the government officials named in the suit.

Aside from requiring the parties to send copies of judicial affidavits to the opposing counsels five days before the scheduled hearings, the appellate court in two resolutions on May 20 and July 16 had “sternly warned the parties” that in case of non-compliance, “witnesses [with late judicial affidavits] will not be allowed to testify.” 

In the case of Colmenares, Bosantog said his judicial affidavit was signed in Quezon City but was notarized in Makati City.

The OSG said it had previously voiced no objection to the decision of the court to forgo the strict application of the rule of amparo that required day-to-day hearings and the requirement that the judicial affidavits of witnesses must be attached to the original petition.

The appellate court last week turned down a plea for a temporary protection order sought by the NUPL in a nine-page resolution dated July 11 written by Associate Justice Pedro Corales.

Associate Justices Stephen Cruz and Germano Francisco Legaspi concurred.

Likewise, during the hearing the government lawyers also posted their objection to the offer of documentary evidence made by the NUPL, particularly of the newspaper clippings and printouts of newspaper reports quoting military officials.

“These are clearly hearsay twice removed,” Bosantog said.

The state lawyers also said “leaflets” supposedly identifying specific NUPL members as sympathizers of the Communist New People’s Army should likewise be considered “hearsay” as its authorship could not be established. 

Topics: Court of Appeals , National Union of People’s Lawyers , General Angelita Villanueva-Miranda
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