Two UCCP pastors seek SC protection vs alleged ‘red-tagging’ by military officers

TWO pastors of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) on Monday sought protection before the Supreme Court (SC), through the issuance of a writ of amparo and temporary protection, order against several military officials who have allegedly red-tagged them, thus, putting their lives at risk.

In a 62-page petition, UCCP Rev. Edwin Egar, his wife, Rev. Julieta Egar and former barangay captain and UCCP member Ronald Ramos told the SC that in doing their ministry work, they were falsely accused of giving aid to communist insurgents by officers and enlisted personnel of the 59th Battalion (IB) stationed in Rosario, Batangas, neighboring Quezon province.

The petitioners also cited other unlawful acts of the respondents that would warrant the issuance of a writ of amparo.

These include the conduct of surveillance on petitioners, pressuring them to surrender and admit being members of the New People’s Army despite the lack of evidence and text messages threatening their safety and security.

“Due to these illegal military surveillance, unwarranted visits, threats of illegal searches, and the outright threat of a deadly military operation akin to the ‘Bloody Sunday’ operations, the respondents officers and enlisted personnel of the 59thIB have implanted a genuine and crippling fear in the minds of petitioners,” the petition read.

“Now, the petitioners are living in fear wondering whether tomorrow will be their last. They have also yet to be able to return to their homes for fear that instead of presiding in a safe haven, they would be endangering themselves more by being open targets for the respondents officers and enlisted personnel of the 59thIB,” it added.

Egar said she has been put under surveillance while her husband has been in hiding for more than two weeks now amid their fears that what happened to the nine activists killed in last year’s Bloody Sunday incident in Calabarzon might also happened to them.

Named respondents in the petition are Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Philippine Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Army 2nd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Roberto Capulong, 58th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Alfredo Teneza Jr., one Lt. Taro, Sgts. Ronald Dalo and John Granpil, and Private First Class Borge Ebol and Roy Dela Pena and several John Does.

Specifically, the petitioners are seeking to prohibit the respondents, their officers and agents from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioners directly or indirectly and to stay away from them, their residence, school, place of employment or detention or any specific place they frequented.

Likewise, petitioners also asked the SC that a private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety, specifically the UCCP, or any church group willing and able to provide such secure facility protect them and their family members.

In the same petition, they also asked the Philippine Army to “conduct an investigation” covering officers and men of the 59th Infantry Battalion to “determine who are specifically responsible for the unlawful acts committed against the petitioners.”

The petitioners also asked the Court that a production order be issued ordering the respondents in possession or custody of any materials, which contain evidence relevant to the petition to produce and permit their inspection by the petitioners.

They also sought the transfer of the respondent officers and enlisted personnel of the 59thIB outside of Batangas province.

Writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security has been violated or under threat.


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