Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (2nd right) and Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (right) inspect the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid prison in Muntinlupa City on Tuesday. The inspection is part of efforts to clear the prison of illegal activities.  (MN photo)

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (2nd right) and Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (right) inspect the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid prison in Muntinlupa City on Tuesday. The inspection is part of efforts to clear the prison of illegal activities. (MN photo)

MANILA, Jan 14 (Mabuhay) – The Supreme Court has denied the requests seeking the issuance of a writ of amparo for two high-profile convicts taken out of the New Bilibid Prison after a series of surprise raids by authorities last December.

The amparo petitions were filed separately by Memie Sultan Boratong, wife of inmate Amin Imam Boratong, and Anthony Bombeo, the legal counsel of Herbert Colangco.

In an en banc session, the tribunal also denied Boratong’s request for the issuance of writ of habeas data.

“(T)he Court dismissed the applications for The Writ of Amparo (sought by petitioner Boratong and petitioner Bombeo) and Habeas Data (sought by petitioner Boratong),” said the SC.

As to Mrs. Boratong’s request for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, the SC ordered the respondents to file their comment on the petition within 10 days from notice of the resolution.

A writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission.

A habeas corpus plea, meanwhile, is a legal action that gives a person the right to seek relief from unlawful detention. It serves as an instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary government action.

On the other hand, a writ of habeas data is a legal remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated. It grants the petitioner a chance to question the data and to seek for its “updating, rectification, or destruction.”

Mrs. Boratong said her husband was being held at the National Bureau of Investigation without access to his family or legal counsel. No information on his present condition and where he is specifically held has been released to them, she added.

She said their lawyer, Paul Laguatan, was not given by the NBI any “plausible explanation” why the convict was transferred to the NBI on December 15. Laguatan was likewise not given copies of relevant documents used as basis for the transfer.

Boratong’s camp had likewise sought an audience with and clearance from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and NBI Director Virgilio Mendez to visit the convict, but no action has been taken yet on their request.

The Boratong camp said Aman Imam’s detention is an incommunicado detention, in violation of his constitutional right.

Amin Imam, who was convicted in 2006 for maintaining a shabu tiangge in Pasig City, was supposed to be serving time at the facility’s maximum security compound but was earlier reported to be staying at the newly built two-storey house beside the NBP chapel.

Meanwhile, Bombeo, in his petition, said Colangco’s transfer was baseless because the items seized from him during a surprise raid cannot be considered contraband.

Bombeo added that there was neither illegal nor prohibited drugs or firearms found in Colangco’s possession during the raid like those confiscated from the other inmates.

Bombeo also said since Colanggo’s  transfer to the NBI, none of his family or lawyers have been allowed to visit him.  (MNS)