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Philippines - Update: Bail hearing of human rights defender Mr Temogen Tulawie to take place from 19 – 21 September 2012
The bail hearing concerning human rights defender Mr Temogen Tulawie is scheduled to take place on 19, 20, and 21 September 2012 at Branch 11 Regional Trial Court in Davao City.
Temogen Tulawie is a prominent human rights defender who has been involved in conducting fact-finding missions into human rights violations in Jolo, Sulu, Mindanao province. He was arrested on 14 January 2012 at his home in Davao City and has been detained since under the accusation of being involved in a bombing incident in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu, on 13 May 2009, in which 12 persons were wounded including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu.
In the latest development which took place on 3 August 2012, Temogen Tulawie pleaded not guilty after he was read the charges against him at Branch 11. The Private Prosecutor representing Governor Abdusakur Tan, the complainant, requested preparation time of two months. The presiding magistrate, Judge Europa, denied this request and all parties agreed to the judge's suggestion that the bail hearing take place on 19, 20 and 21 September. The prosecution stated that two witnesses for the prosecution will be presented on each day of the three-day hearing.
Front Line Defenders is concerned by the delay of Temogen Tulawie's trial, particularly in light of the fact that he has been detained for the past eight months and it has yet to be determined if he will be granted bail. Front Line Defenders takes note that the trial has been delayed on a number of occasions due to the actions of the prosecution. For example, the trial was delayed when Governor Abdusakur Tan's representatives failed to file their Comment on the Motion to Quash before the deadline, and a petition filed by the Governor to the Supreme Court to have the trial transferred to Metro Manila has further delayed the proceedings. We believe that the act of asking for two months to prepare for the bail hearing may be a further delaying tactic employed with the intention of prolonging the case for as long as possible.
Front Line Defenders calls on the Philippines authorities to grant the human rights defender the right to bail in line with Section 13 and Section 14 (2) of Article III of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, which state that “[a]ll persons, except those charged with offences punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable” and “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved,” respectively. Front Line Defenders also urges the authorities to give due consideration and weight to the fact that the primary witnesses against Temogen Tulawie have recanted their original testimonies.
For more information concerning this case, please see the previous Front Line Defenders urgent appeals, dated 17 January 2012 and 9 November 2011 respectively: Arrest and detention of human rights defender Mr Temogen Tulawie and Human rights defender Mr Temogen Sahipa Tulawie in hiding amid fears of unfair trial in Sulu