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... I'd like to welcome to our program si Dean Tony Lavinia. Dati po siyang Dean ng Ateneo School of Government. Ihasa po siyang abogado, bar top natcher, andahin sa pinagtuturuan. Hindi ko na maaalala nakikita ko sa Facebook ka kanya. Ang buta ng oras pa kayo. Dean good evening, thank you for joining us.
... Medyo na-bother ako rin Dean. Bakit ba ganoon? Wala pa tayo."
... Okay. Well, ganoon. Anyway Dean pag-usapan natin itong development coming from the Supreme Court. Ano bang pinakadahilan bakit nag-decision ang Supreme Court na i-grant ang petition for habeas corpus ni G.G. Reyes, yung dating chief of staff ni Juan Ponce Enrile?
... Walang muna paki-explain po ano ba yung petition for the writ of habeas corpus?
... Okay good. And to start the discussion, dalawang introductory points. Una, actually ano ito? This is really just implementing the law on speedy trial, constitutional principle of speedy trial, nothing new at all.
... On the other hand, yung paggamit ng habeas corpus, kaya maganda yung first question what is habeas corpus, is actually quite unique at bago at sana maraming makikinabang. Many people will be able to benefit from this new rule, I would call it the interim habeas corpus principle.
... Ano bang habeas corpus? Very simple. Writ of habeas corpus is an order by the court, any court, pwedeng Supreme Court, pwedeng RTC, pwedeng Court of Appeals, depending where you file the petition ordering the government, usually the police, the military, to show cause why a person under the custody of the government...
... should not be released for reasons of legality. Ganun siya kasimple lang. It's an order. Dalhin mo yung tao dito. It's a habeas corpus. Bring the body. Bring the body of the person to the court and justify why you have detained that person.
Dean, hindi ba unusual yung paggamit ito ng petition for the writ of habeas corpus in the case of G.G. Reyes? Ito po si G.G. Reyes, dating chief of staff ni Enrique. Alam naman kung bakit siya nakakulong. Kinasuhan siya, kaugnay doon sa pork barrel scam. Unusual ba yung paggamit ng writ in this case?
Unusual. Innovative. Sana hindi unusual because I think everyone should benefit from this in the same situation. Although extreme si G.G. kasi nine years na siya nakakulong na hindi nag-advance yung trial.
Unusual kasi usual yung habeas corpus is when you are in fact illegally detained. Alimbawa walang kaso, walang search warrant o walang arrest warrant. Illegal at void yung arrest warrant.
Or let's say na-convict ka na, na-serve mo na yung sentence mo, bakit ka panahuli. So without an arrest warrant or invalid arrest warrant or na-acquit ka pero nandiyan ka pa rin sa jail.
Or na-convict ka but you serve sentence. So illegal yung detention mo. Dito sabi ng court hindi illegal ang detention ni G.G. Reyes. Kasi si G.G. Reyes was arrested properly for plunder.
Detained properly for plunder kasi that's a life imprisonment case if you're convicted. So lahat ngayon tama na yun but dahil ang tagal niyang naka-detain.
In fact sabi pa ng court some of which ang dahilan kung bakit kasi profile siya ng mga motion, mga ganoon. But overall, napakita ni Atty. Reyes na yung prosecution, maraming pagkakamali sa prosecution
kaya na-delay further. Para bang lumabas is 9 years siya sa imprison wala pang end in sight. Wala pang end in sight para the trial has hardly begun. Unacceptable yan sabi ng SC.
Because that is already unjust and ang ginagamit ng term vexatious, akin already to being illegally detained. So that's what makes it unique and innovative.
Because properly detained but because of the length of time, violating the right of speedy trial, she should be released. Okay. Actually tama naman, tanggalin natin yung personality.
Assuming na it's an ordinary Filipino, hindi siya si Atty. G.G. Reyes. Tama naman kasi bakit ang tagal-tagal ng trial. Pero ang tanong...
So I said hindi naman siya bago. Sabi ng court a long time ago pa, again and again, when your right to a speedy trial is violated, you should be ordered released.
In fact, hindi lang yan released. Ito nga, ito nga, unique. Kasi the trial will continue but outside na siya. In some places, dismiss ang case. In some cases, dismiss ang case.
Because the government lost its right. The general rule Christian is hindi kadapat ang dahilan. Hindi dapat ang dahilan ng delay yung accused.
For example, if you file motion after motion, appeal after appeal to stop the trial, then you are the one causing the delay.
But if the government is the cause of the delay or the court is the cause of the delay, actually the case should be dismissed.
Dito, the court did not do that. The case will continue but sobra naman yung 9 years imprisonment without conviction.
The next question dito, yung kataga ng mga kabataan ngayon, hindi ba dapat sana all? Pwede ba itong makatulong sa ibang similar cases dahil hindi lang naman siya yung talagang kawawang naghihimas ng rehash kahit continuous pa yung trial pero napakatagal?
Pwede ba itong gamitin ng ibang mga nakaditine in similar situations?
Yes. I expect that. In fact, nakita ko isang quotation from Sec. Remullo. Sabi niya the case should be applied to Delima.
In this case, sabi naman ang court, titignan mo yung circumstances, length of time, participation of the accused in the delay, et cetera, et cetera.
Titignan mo siya lahat. In this particular... So ang tanong dyan, ano yung time na unusual na yung delay? I think one year is enough.
Because you should not be punished. Detention before conviction is not a punishment. Huwag nating kalimutan yan.
The reason why we detained them is not so that they will come to court. It's not about... They cannot be punished. They're not yet convicted.
Sen. Laila Delima has been in prison now for six years in February. Dapat one year pa lang na-release na yan.
I have a client, Miles Albacin, a political detainee in Negros. She should have been released years ago pa.
In the case of Miles, nakakalungkot niya kasi she wanted to study law. Kung na-release siya after one year of case pending,
nag-bar exam na siya. Si Sen. Laila, she's lost so much in the six years that she's there. She's been there. Sana all.
I want to remind you of another case, Kristiana, which I hope the court should have applied this then.
Yung case of Almonte. Ito yung may sakit na mga political detainees during the early days of COVID who asked also to be released on humanitarian grounds
following the Enrile ruling. Many of them have also been in jail for five years, 10 years even.
The other thing of course dito is alam naman natin na most of those detainees will actually be found innocent.
Ganoon yan. Yan ang nature. Statistically, they end up acquitted.
Dito ba din pag ginamit ng isang ordinaryong akusado itong petition for the writ of habeas corpus in connection with the right to speedy trial,
meron ba itong maliwanag na threshold or parameters? Sabi niyo kanina sa time, siguro reasonable yung one year.
Pero meron ba nilay down ng corte mismo na ito yung gusto niyang makita to be able to apply this?
Well una, yung time. But they did not say how much. But as I say, one year sa tingin ko.
If you're not guilty, why should you be in jail for more than a year? You shouldn't even be in jail for days.
I mean to be honest. But let's give it a benefit na okay one year.
Pangalawa, you are not the cause of the delay. Importante yan na you did not cause the delay by whatever legal actions that you took.
Pangatlo dito is yung commitment mo to... yan ang condition niya kay... to report, to go to court, to be...
which is already a condition for people who are accused. You cannot travel without the permission of the court.
So clear naman, actually clear, much clearer than humanitarian considerations.
So kay Enrile kasi pwede mo mag-justify na si Enrile lang yan kasi over 90 years old, Senate president, all of those things that...
it was a special plea being in my view, finavor talaga yung isang tao.
So Enrile kasi... but at the same time, masasabi naman naman, sino ba namang 90 years old diba?
Di nyo mention nyo kay Enrile, kaya siya temporarily nakakalaya dahil ongoing pa yung kaso sa pork barrel dahil humanitarian, dahil matanda na.
Di ba yun parang violative ng equal protection clause? Tama ba yun?
Ang violation ng equal protection clause, when the others were denied diba?
Ito special case parang reverse.
Ito naman, iba naman ito. This is about speedy trial diba?
Yung kay Enrile po mismo.
Di ba unfair yun sa ibang matatanda?
Kaya nga, humanitarian considerations yun. For me the denial of Almonte by the Supreme Court, yun yung mga political prisoners na marami doon matatanda, for me seemed to be a violation of equal protection diba?
So dito makikita natin very quickly now. I can't say, although I'm one of her lawyers, I'm not privy to the strategy per case.
The two cases that are left against, malapit naman siya mag-conclude.
But if you want her to be free, I expect Sen. Laila to be released actually in a few months on the merits.
She doesn't have to file a similar rate petition?
Well I hope she files but I will not second-guess the principal lawyers.
Kasi it will still be three to four, six months. Malaki pa rin difference yun. Being freed tomorrow compared to being freed six months from now is still a big thing.
Sana naman di siya umabot ng sixth year.
There's a quick way of doing this, which is that the government simply withdraws its objection or even gives a motion na sige na, the case can continue but you can have a release.
If the government does that, then ma-release na siya mismo. Sa linggong ito mismo.
But as I said, I will respect the final decision of the handling lawyers in the cases whether they'll do that.
I know that she certainly doesn't want to negotiate a settlement as if siya may kasalanan siya.
So in fact, we know that she refused the furlough na mahaba after nagkasakit siya, after inattaki siya.
She had a chance to actually go out, even transfer to a more comfortable place.
Pero ayaw niya. Ayaw niya na parang mabigyan siya ng special advantage for political reasons.
But this one, clear yun ito. If she's released early, manino na yung principle. You cannot have someone in jail for six years na walang conviction.
Hindi naman talaga tama yun.
Early on may mga judges na nag-inhibit. Ayaw hawakan yung kaso niya. Hindi naman kasalanan yun.
Walang kasalanan si Laila sa delay. Alam natin anong cause ng delay.
The main thing is maraming mga nag-inhibit na judges for their own reasons.
Again, the usual... Right now it seems to me the two judges handling it are very good judges. Pero parang they're still handling it as an ordinary case.
Once a month ang hearing. Yung ganoon klase na...
Talagang tatagal ka kung ganoon.
So what I wish will be done here is, yung sinabi ni Sec. Remullo, if that's confirmed, sinabi niya na it's on ABS-CBN, tweet about it na sinabi niya na this should apply to Laila Delima as well. It should.
Going back sa pagpapalayapan samantala kay Atty. G.G. Reyes, yung decision ba ng SC, does it have any effect whatsoever sa lakas o hina ng kaso sa kanya?
Kasi di ba sa ibang mga kaso pag sinabing pinakawalan ka, you were granted bail, parang indicative yun sa lakas o hina ng evidence against you. Dito walang ganoon?
No. Wala. And the court made it very clear that this is not about the plunder case. This is about being in jail nine years.
Actually hindi ko naisip na nine years. Grabe naman.
Napakatagal nga actually.
There are people who have been there also for 10 years or more, lalo na political prisoners na cases have not advanced to where they should. But still, nine years is really long. I've been saying six years of Delima, that's very long.
Kasi minsan marami mga cases na hindi naman natin alam dahil very ordinary Filipinos mahihirap, ang tagal nakadetine tapos ang bagal ng takbo ng kaso. Mayroon ba pwedeng gawin yung SC proactively?
Kasi baka wala silang wherewithal to actually file a similar petition, hindi na tututukan yung kaso nila. Di sila kasing yaman ni G.G. Reyes, wala mga batikang abogado. Anong pwedeng gawin ng SC proactively?
Christian, you have to just grant also Estelito Mendoza has thought again of a novel remedy, a new remedy. Some form or another we've asked of these things but procedurally, binigyan niya yung court ng way to get this done.
So he is brilliant. I will not take that away from him.
Pero sanang magamit sa iba. Ingat Dean, mayroon bang proactive way for the court to do this?
Yes. Importante yan. Ang proactive na gagawin ng SC diyan is to instruct judges. If they have inventories of cases like that, then they should either rush yung weekly trial or daily.
Kay anak ni Sec. Remullo, daily ata yung trial na yan. They should start doing those things for those kind of cases. But I'm sure many lawyers will now file the same thing.
And lower court judges will be emboldened by what the Supreme Court did. So yan ang ating pag-asa. Yan ang hindi ko gusto sa system natin na adversarial.
Because the judges are like bystanders. Passive. They wait for a motion. They wait for a petition instead of being proactive in finding these cases in their inventory and then letting them go.
Pero diba Dean, pwede naman yan. Alam naman ng judges kung may inventory sila. Itong kaso na ito, 15 years na nakakulong ito. Ang bagal ng takbo ng trial.
Yes. Yes. Especially if they're new judges, just yung nag-inherit sila ng maraming cases. Titingnan nila yan, mag-inventory sila and then get it done.
Once in the DNR when I was a government undersecretary, legal, doing quasi-judicial decisions, ginawa ko yan.
Thousands and thousands of cases, tinapos ko ng mabilisan with very clear decisions. Because they have been there in my office, including my predecessors, some 30 years.
Hindi yan tama. So you just have to decide that. I would call on the judges to also do that. Very clear. Ang maganda dito, very clear naman ang message ng Supreme Court.
Now there's another interesting thing dito na gusto ko lang ibanggit Christian. This also gives an opening to what might be a new writ.
Yung tinatawag ni Justice Leonen sa kaso ng Almonte, the writ of kalayaan. Writ of freedom. Kasi yun na nga, yung habeas corpus really strictly applies only when you have been illegally arrested and illegally detained.
But there are many other unjust situations where you are detained for years and there's a legal reason for it, but it's still unjust.
Or humanitarian in nature. Dapat ang release mo kasi namamatay ka na, hindi pa rin tapos yung kaso mo, may sakit ka, may cancer ka.
Yung ganoon klaseng ano. I think very important, we have a remedy for that. For now, I'm okay with this interim writ of habeas corpus.
But interim while the case is going on, even if the person has been properly charged, properly arrested, walang illegality sa kanyang detention from that point of view.
So even if the person has been illegally detained, matagal na siyang detained na hindi pa siya convicted.
Oo nga. Ang tagal. Nine years. Eto kay Sen. De Lima, six years. May tanong dito. Will the government compensate Sen. De Lima for the duress, stress and unlawful incarceration?
Normal na talong yan.
May mga law that compensates. But siya has to prove the prosecution was unwarranted, malicious, et cetera, et cetera.
We'll leave it up to her to decide later on. But theoretically speaking, may remedy siya against those who went after her without any basis.
They should be held accountable to be honest.
Oo nga. Okay. Sige Dean, Tony Lavinia, maraming maraming salamat po for joining us para sa napakalito na pagkapalwanag.
Thank you always. And thank you for, alam mo naman, ikaw ang aking favorite interviewer, Chris Chanez. So thank you for inviting me.
Invite me again. Always.
Oo naman. Pwede wala kayong klase ngayon?
Ngayon hindi pa nagsisimula ang klase. So most of my schools are still on vacation.
Oo nga. Okay. Sige. Pwede ko kayong kunin before the start of the classes. Naiyari ko kanina kasi alam ko full ang schedule nyo.
Diba? Ang dami yun. Ilang bang law schools ang tinuturuan nyo ngayon?
Ngayon nililitan ko naman mga sampu siguro.
Ang dami ng dina.
Diba? Babutok ko ng 20 schools.
I'm trying to be healthy.
Dean, baka gusto nyo mag-shout out sa mga students nyo, no?
Yeah. Sa mga students ko. Lalo na I have actually a class, one class already going on sa Davao, Rizal Memorial College.
Ninety of them. Marami doon, police officers.
So ito yung subject namin. Subject namin yung bagay na ito. Diba?
This is what I meant to you na you have to love your rights. Diba?
And here, Gigi Reyes, ang sabi ng court, importante pala ito Christian ha, they have to assert their rights.
Diba? You have the right to speedy trial.
But you cannot be passive. You have to assert it at every instance you have.
Dean, ang ganda ng punto nyo, assert your rights.
Ang problema, hindi naman lahat kasi may worry talinga.
Kunwari, lawyer mo, public attorney, ang daming hinahawakan kaso.
Hindi sila katulad ni Gigi Reyes na mayroon matinding abogado. Paano yun?
Well yes, that's why importante yung teaching people about their rights.
Importante yung encouraging people. Importante yung pro bono lawyering.
Law students, mga nagkiklap yung legal aid ng mga clinical legal education ng mga students that are now all over the country. Diba?
Remember this case. Remember this case when you look at your... Marami doon persons with detained liberties.
Actually bukas yung aking other school, sa kagayan ni Oro, they're actually having graduation ng CLEP nila, yung kanilang clinical legal education program.
And si Dean Olet Cabrera actually invited me to attend the graduation. Persons with PDLs yun. Persons deprived of liberty while their case is going on.
This is a very potent decision for them to use. So I'll shout out to them as well. Thank you.
Maraming salamat Dean Tony. Happy New Year sa inyo. And nice to have you again.
Namiss ko yung interview ko sa inyo. Salamat sir.