Human rights lawyer Atty. Ma. Catherine Dannug Salucon filed a Petition for the Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data to seek protection against threats to her life, liberty, and security by means of threats and harassments perpetrated by the military (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the Philippine National Police. The Petition came after Atty. Salucon’s paralegal, William Bugatti was brutally killed on 24 March 2014.
A few minutes after Atty. Salucon learned of Bugatti’s death, she learned from a very reliable source, who verbally relayed to her the information, that the Regional Intelligence Division of the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued a directive to the PNP of Burgos, Isabela, Atty. Salucon’s hometown, to conduct a background investigation and to confirm whether Atty. Salucon is a “Red Lawyer”. She further learned that she is being secretly followed by members of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).
Atty. Salucon has been a human rights lawyer since her admission to the Philippine Bar. She is a founding member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer (NUPL), a national association of peoples’ lawyers which is principally engaged in human rights practice. Atty. Salucon is an incumbent national officer of the NUPL. As a private lawyer, she took on the defense of several political detainees and most of her clients are members of peasant and other people’s organizations.
The NUPL, through its Secretary-General, Atty. Edre U. Olalia, in a statement condemned what they call, “the cowardice of the government’s security forces in choosing to futilely silence its perceived enemies instead of protecting their rights.”
The NUPL further stated that if any harm is inflicted on Atty. Dannug-Salucon, or to any of her staff or family members, “we shall hold the military and the police, and Commander-in-Chief President Aquino himself accountable, given the documented harassment and surveillance being made against her.
The Petition for the Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data prayed for the issuance of a temporary protection order in favor of Atty. Salucon and her family, and the subsequent issuance of the privilege of the Writ of Amparo. The Petitioner further seeks an order from the Court to direct the named Respondents and any persons acting on their behalf to destroy any information, statements, records, photographs, dossier, and all other evidence pertaining to Atty. Salucon in their files or record.
The Petition, which was filed today at the Court of Appeals named President BS Aquino, AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Philippine Army Commanding General Gen. Hernando Irriberri, and Commanding General of the 5th Infantry Division of the AFP Gen. Joel Ibanez as party Respondents.
Atty. Edre U. Olalia
NUPL Secretary General