ACTIVISTS from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to protect them from military officers whom they accused of kidnapping.

In a statement, Karapatan said 24 Cordillera activists, one of whom was an abduction survivor, had filed a petition that sought to overturn a Court of Appeals ruling that rejected their plea for a so-called writ of amparo. The writ is a legal remedy for anyone whose right to life, liberty and security is violated by a public official.

The human rights group said the High Court should consider amending the writ of amparo, which many activists and human rights defenders find difficult to use in their favor.

“There have been many occasions that the courts dismissed petitions on the writ of amparo of those who have clear threats to their life, security and liberty,” Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina E. Palabay said.

“This runs counter to the objective of these legal remedies to provide protection for persons who are under threat and have suffered more than enough harassment, vilification and red-tagging from state security forces.”

She added that many of those who got legal remedy from local courts were still being abducted and harassed.

Hannah Neumann, vice chairwoman of the European Parliament subcommittee on human rights, in February urged the Philippine government to work with civic groups and global human rights watchdogs to improve efforts to stop impunity.

“They are on the ground with the people and have some sensitivity when things go wrong such as rights abuses,” she told BusinessWorld on Feb. 24. “They could be the agents of change.

The Philippines has accepted 200 recommendations from the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, including investigating extralegal killings and protecting journalists and activists.

During a UN Human Rights Council session on Nov. 17, the United States said Philippine state officials should stop tagging people as communists.

A Manila trial court earlier ruled the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, is a legitimate political movement, contrary to the Anti-Terrorism Council’s decision to label them as terrorist groups.

“Threats and harassment continue to this day, and rights violations continue to rise,” Ms. Palabay said. “This seeming failure using the writ of amparo is reflective oft how domestic mechanisms remain in favor of the prevailing policies of the government, in its own state-sponsored terror and repression against those who are critical and vocal in opposing such policies.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez