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IBP-DAVAO CITY CONDEMNS MILITARY’S “ORDER OF BATTLE”

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City Chapter joins the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in strongly condemning the the inclusion of its members as well as members of other lawful and legitimate groups and organizations, law-abiding and dutiful citizens in the so- called “Order of Battle” produced by the JCICC Agila 3 rd Qtr 2007 OB Validation Result of the 10 th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The “Order of Battle” is nothing but a hitlist used by the military to those it identifies and brands as “enemies of the state”. This makes them prosecutor, judge and executioner all at the same time. The use of the “order of battle” is unconstitutional and repugnant to the Rule of Law and the democratic processes. What is the basis of the military of having them in the “order of battle”? How could the military win the hearts and minds of the people in its war on insurgency when the military does not have a mind and heart. It is a clear indication of the military’s utter disregard for the human rights of the people included in the list. Not only does the list endangers the lives of these identified individuals but likewise the peace and sanctity of their respective family --- which they are entitled to enjoy under our Constitution.

Lawyers Carlos Isagani Zarate, Angela Librado-Trinidad, Lilibeth Ladaga, Noreen Minette Manatad and Benjamin

de Guzman are members of the Davao City Chapter, while Beverly Musni is a member of the Misamis Oriental Chapter. They are members of good standing of the IBP. Attys. Zarate and De Guzman are former presidents of the Davao City Chapter. Atty Librado-Trinidad is a current councilor of the 1 st District of Davao City. It is but reckless, irresponsible and stupid that these lawyers be included in the said “order of battle”. The 10 th ID of the AFP should be held accountable of making such a list.

The inclusion of these lawyers in the “order of battle” shows the stark ignorance of the military of the duties and responsibilities of lawyers. Lawyers have taken a solemn oath ‘not to delay any man’s cause for money or malice’ and ‘to conduct himself as a lawyer to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity’. These lawyers therefore have been true to the letter and spirit of their responsibilities as members of the Philippine Bar in defending not only victims of crimes and the innocent but rather to all those entitled to defend themselves – a right guaranteed by no less the Constitution.

With their inclusion, they become now vulnerable and an easy target to the unintelligent military. With all the unsolved extra-judicial killings in the country perpetrated by the military, God forbids, they are not far behind.

We now call on the Armed Forces of the Phils. and the Department of National Defense to put a stop to this policy. We are not under Martial Law. Dissent as part of the freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed by the Constitution. Criticizing this government and its excesses is a duty of citizenship. The use of the “order of battle” must be stopped.

Finally, the IBP-Davao City Chapter also fully supports legal moves to be undertaken by our colleagues in the defense of their rights and those of others unjustly vilified by the said “order of battle.”

Reference:

ATTY. SOCORRO T. ERMAC-CABREROS Chapter President Tel. No. 296-0070; 303-1040

ATTY. MARTIN DELGRA Public Relations Officer Tel No. 296-2269

ATTY. MANUEL P. QUIBOD Immediate Past President Tel No. 227-7460