Feb 10, 2021 @ 14:25

SC should reproach Calida for unethical practice of law, group says

KAPATID, the support group for families and friends of political prisoners, on Wednesday said the Supreme Court should reproach Solicitor General Jose Calida for claiming that Aeta farmers Jasper Gurung and Junior Ramos have been forced to join petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

“The Solicitor General should be castigated and even made to resign because no People’s Tribune should be allowed to get away with what he has been doing to debase a high position of trust. Calida’s claim is ridiculous as Gurung and Ramos are being held inside a prison facility where the State can easily pressure them. The Solicitor General’s allegation is nothing but a desperate attempt to discredit groups that stand firm in opposing the Anti-Terrorism Act, a law that is broadly criticized for the threats it poses against dissenters,” Fides Lim, the group’s spokesperson, said.

Lim said the high court should investigate and take action on Calida’s tactics, the same method of coercion that he used to make fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales and Palawan withdraw their petition for a writ of kalikasan in the West Philippine Sea last July 2019.

“Gurung and Ramos are being prosecuted for alleged violation of the ‘terror law.’ When they were arrested last year, they were tortured to force them to admit that they are members of the New People’s Army. Why would they refuse to question a law that is being used by government forces to imprison them?” Lim asked.

The KAPATID official asserted that if there are lawyers who are capable of coercing the two Aeta farmers into signing a document, they are not certainly the counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, a nationwide association of rights lawyers, law students, and paralegals.

“Calida should cease from discrediting well-respected rights lawyers who put their lives on the line for defending the poor and defenseless. Who has a history of making suspicious acts? Certainly, they are not the lawyers from NUPL because they are not the ones who were able to win a new 78 million peso contract for a family firm on top of the 330 million pesos that they already garnered from government security contracts.”

“We ask the government to stop all attempts to intimidate Gurung and Ramos to invalidate the loud calls opposing the ‘terror law’. The two should be released from prison as they do not deserve even a single day in jail – they are victims of a government that files trumped-up cases because they have no case to begin with against those whom they want to prosecute and persecute,” Lim said.#

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