Initial reaction on SC rules on body-cam and search warrants

Karapatan notes the recent resolution of the Supreme Court on rules on the use of body-worn cameras in the execution of warrants as a product of relentless and persistent justice-seeking efforts of victims of human rights violations, lawyers, activists, and other civil libertarians, while we lament that such action came after numerous cases of killings, arbitrary arrests and detention and other rights violations in the government’s war on drugs and counterinsurgency campaigns.

We note that several proposals of lawyers and human rights groups have been considered in the resolution, though we remain vigilant and mindful of the gaps and loopholes which may potentially be used by law enforcement officers in the course of implementation.

What matters after this step are as follows, among others:

1. That all cases wherein there are serious questions on the use of search warrants against individuals including activists resulting in killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, and other rights violations be subjected to immediate and urgent review and to pave the way for the releases of those who were subjected to wrongful actions;

2. That all those involved in the previous cases should be held accountable and to ensure that there would be no repetition of the said crimes; and

3. That the Supreme Court provide feedback on the questions regarding trumped up charges against activists in courts violating their right to due process and proposals for the amendments of the rules on the writs of amparo, habeas data and habeas corpus to ensure protection of those facing threats from State actors.