SC upholds widow’s amparo grant

The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the writ of amparo issued in 2017 in favor of a widow whose husband was killed by the police in a 2016 anti-illegal drugs operation in Antipolo City.

In a statement to the media yesterday, the SC said its Second Division unanimously ruled that one Christina Gonzales has the right to be protected against the police officers who killed her husband Joselito Gonzales.

The High Court backed a 2018 decision and 2019 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) that found Joselito’s killing was extrajudicial and that the police officers involved should be held liable civilly, criminally and administratively.

The writ of amparo is a legal remedy for persons whose right to life, liberty and security was violated or under threat of being violated by state personnel or private individuals.

Justice Jhosep Lopez penned the SC decision that denied the petition for a review of the CA rulings filed by the cops.

The SC also made permanent a temporary protection order issued in favor of Gonzales, stopping the police officers or any of their agents from approaching within a kilometer of the widow’s work and residential addresses.

The High Court said Christina has reasons to fear for her life and that she could suffer the same fate as her slain husband.

The couple had been previously arrested for allegedly using and selling narcotics, but were released after paying the P50,000 demanded by the police officers.

A writ of amparo was originally issued in Christina’s favor in 2017 after Joselito’s killing that purportedly arose from pressure exerted on them by rogue cops to sell drugs or be entrapped or killed.

The SC noted the major lapses in the police operation tending to discredit the officers’ claim that they conducted a legitimate buy-bust operation against the couple.

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