CMFR Philippines: Supreme Court issues first writ of amparo for journalist

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – The Supreme Court granted the first writ of amparo for a journalist on 11 March 2008.

Journalist Nilo Baculo filed an application for the writ when he learned of a plan to kill him, allegedly by people whose wrong doing he had exposed. 

In a four-page resolution, the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, issued a writ of amparo in behalf of Nilo Baculo Sr., publisher of the community newsletter Traveler’s News in Calapan city, Oriental Mindoro, a province about 140 kms south of Manila.

Baculo asked the High Court on 4 February 2008 to issue him a “temporary protection order” under Section 14 of the Rule on the writ of amparo after an alleged hired killer told him he had been hired to kill him by a local businessman and two local officials of Calapan City.  All had been the subject of Baculo’s exposés, and were named respondents in Baculo’s petition.

The Court of Appeals has been directed to hear the case on 18 March 2008 at 2 p.m. (local time) to decide on the continuance of the writ.

Baculo was elated that the High Court had approved his petition. “Naging inspirado (ako) ngayon dahil may nalalabi pang hustisya (sa bansa) (I am inspired…because there is still justice in the country),” he said.

Baculo also said that he will carry on his fight against corruption and anomalies in his community. Baculo, with the help of his children, continues to publish his weekly newsletter Traveller’s News.

The writ of amparo is “a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.”

The implementing guidelines for the writ were issued by the Supreme Court on 25 September 2007, in light of the tide of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines. The writ took effect on 24 October 2007.

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