Human Rights Lawyers Vow to File and Support Legal Actions to Stop RP-US-Japan Access Arrangement

PRESS STATEMENT, 1 July 2013

In a press statement today, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) strongly assailed the government’s desire to provide access arrangements to US and Japan saying that it should never pass the test of constitutionality.

The human rights lawyers group said that whether it be a temporary or permanent access to Philippine military bases or facilities, the planned carnival of foreign troops would openly circumvent both the Constitution and the onerous Visiting Forces Agreement.

“To say that the bases access complies with the Constitution and the VFA is patently misleading.  This is again the reason why the people do not have faith in their leaders, the institutions and the system.  They are being treated like fools. The crude and barefaced doublespeak being peddled again by the Aquino government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not stand against the clear and plain language and spirit of the Constitution. It is like getting a huge stone to bash one’s own head by continuously flirting with the US and waltzing with its own global aggression and intervention” Atty. Olalia said in a statement.

The US and the Philippine governments cannot use as a convenient excuse the supposed threats by China to circumvent existing local and international laws.  China for its part should likewise cease from falling into the US’ premeditated trap with the silly collaboration of Philippine defense officials.

The NUPL berated the Aquino government for what it called “another move to sell the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty to the US.”  It cited as an example, the government’s helplessness in the midst of the USS Guardian incident over the Tubbataha where the US remains shamelessly unaccountable for the incident.  The NUPL is acting as co-counsel in the Petition for a Writ of Kalikasan over the incident now pending before the Supreme Court.

The NUPL vowed that it will file and support all legal steps and metalegal actions – both local and international – to stop this scandalously prostrate sell-out of our sovereignty and trampling of our dignity as a supposed free people and independent nation. #

REFERENCE:         ATTY. EDRE U. OLALIA- Secretary-General: +63917-5113373

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“By calling yourselves the ‘people’s lawyer,’ you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance.”

- Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message at the NUPL Founding Congress, September 15, 2007

“After long years of experience as a people’s lawyer, I can honestly say it has been a treasured journey of self-fulfillment and rewarding achievement. I know it will be the same for all others who choose to tread this path.”

- Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, NUPL founding chairperson, in his keynote address at the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia Pacific (COLAP V), September 18, 2010

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. The ICHRP is a global network of organizations based outside of the Philippines, committed to campaigning for human rights and Filipino people's rights.