UPDATE (Philippines): Abadilla Five’s petition to review conviction suffers further delay


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-059-2008
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Institutional reform, Judicial system, Right to fair trial, Rule of law,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you regarding further delays in the conclusion of the Petition for Review on Certiorari that the Abadilla Five has filed. We previously reported that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required by the Supreme Court to submit their comment on the petition; however, from August 2, they have sought to extend the deadline twice, effectively preventing the petition from being concluded promptly.


In our previous appeal (AHRC-UAU-045-2008), we have reported that the Supreme Court’s (SC) Third Division laid out a requirement for the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG.) The OSG was to submit their comment to the Petition for Review for two of the Abadilla Five detainees.  Lenido Lumanog and Augusto Santos, filed their petition on May 5. The comment was due the first week of August 2008.

However, instead of submitting their comment to the petition for review, the OSG has, on two separate occasions, filed a petition seeking to extend the deadline. This effectively blocks the possibility of having the petition concluded in a timely fashion.

First, on July 31, 2008, just days before the OSG’s comment was due, they filed for a 30-day extension to their submission. This covered the period August 2 to September 1. The SC granted their petition.  Second, on September 11, Soliman Santos, legal counsel for Lumanog and Santos, received a second notice that the OSG sought to extend the submission to October 1.

The petition for review is already with the entire compliment of the Supreme Court (En Banc), after it had been transferred from the SC’s Third Division. However, they cannot proceed with deliberations until they were in possession of the OSG’s comment.

As this appeal is being written, there has not been any further information about the OSG’s position. The question is whether or not they are able to submit their comment on time. All these delays do not contribute to further the conclusion of this petition.

Meanwhile, a Motion for Reconsideration has been filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) by the legal counsels of the three other accused men. They are Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Cesar Fortuna, Rameses de Jesus and Joel de Jesus. Unfortunately, no action has been taken since the time the motion was filed in May.

Unlike Lenido and Augusto, the three other detainees opted to appeal to the CA to reconsider its decision affirming their conviction of murder.

Their motion became complicated and stalled so that no action could be taken. This is as a direct result of Justice Agustin Dizon’s, CA, retirement from service in June. It was Justice Dizon who affirmed the lower court’s decision convicting the Abadilla Five. The case has yet to be handed over to a new justice. Until this happens, and a new justice is in position, can the motion for reconsideration be taken up.

We are once again urging you to intervene by writing letters to the judiciary, the Supreme Court (SC) and the Court of Appeals (CA). This is where the separate petitions of the Abadilla Five’s cases are pending. Ask them to give this the utmost priority.

Please write your letters expressing your concern regarding this case; or respond to previous appeals that we have issued by accessing the Abadilla Five’s campaign website: Convicted without real review.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-059-2008
Countries : Philippines,
Campaigns : Abadilla 5
Issues : Administration of justice, Institutional reform, Judicial system, Right to fair trial, Rule of law,