Posted by: nupl | November 11, 2007

Founding Congress Held: NUPL Newsletter Vol. I No. 1 October 2007


One hundred forty lawyers, law students and paralegals attended the Founding Congress, marking it as one of the largest gatherings of human rights lawyers since martial law. Thirty-eight lawyers from Luzon, twenty three lawyers from the Visayas, twenty lawyers from Mindanao, and eight guest lawyers attended the Congress together with seventeen law students from UP, Adamson, FEU, Arellano University, Aquiñas University, San Pablo College and St. Ferdinands College.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno announced the impending approval of the Writ of Amparo in his message of support to the NUPL delivered by Supreme Court Spokesperson Atty.Jose Midas Marquez, and stressed the importance of human rights lawyering.

Former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona discussed the legal and economic implications of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) treaty, reminding lawyers that human rights include social, cultural, and economic rights. Former ICTY Judge Ad Litem Romeo Capulong discussed the philosophy of peoples’ lawyering as well as the relevant response of lawyers in the face of escalating human rights violations. Atty. Frederico Gapuz detailed the challenges ahead in his closing address as the newly-elected NUPL President. Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares delivered a paper on the Writ of Amparo, Habeas Data and the legal notion of Command Responsibility. Atty. Beverly Musni of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) gave a general overview of the human rights situation and reported on the increasing attacks against lawyers. Senator Jamby Madrigal, Senator Loren Legarda, Representative Satur Ocampo, Atty. Hilario Davide Jr., and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City President Boholst expressed messages of support for the NUPL.

Law Professor Osamu Niikura from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), one of the oldest and largest international lawyers organizations, and Belgian lawyer Jo Dereymaeker of the Progress Lawyers Network (PLN) delivered the messages of support from the international community of lawyers. The Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), the United States National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the Lawyers without Borders, as well as, inter alia, the National President of the IBP and various peoples organizations, also sent solidarity messages to the NUPL.

Other than discussing important national legal issues, the Founding Congress also approved the NUPL Constitution and passed various resolutions. The NUPL passed resolutions on various national issues notably, a resolution opposing JPEPA, one supporting the International Criminal Court and other resolutions on peace, attacks against lawyers, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, mining and a call for the immediate resolution of the Palo massacre case.

The delegates affirmed NUPL’s orientation as a national lawyers association that will coordinate, collaborate, and facilitate legal assistance and services for victims of human rights violations. In line with this, the NUPL will conduct research and education activities on important legal and other national issues. The NUPL will also be a strong advocate for the protection, promotion, and defense of human rights, including the protection and welfare of members of the legal profession.

Elected as Officers of the NUPL were Judge Romeo Capulong (Nueva Ecija) as Chairperson, Atty. Frederico Gapuz (Cagayan de Oro) as President, Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares (NCR) as Secretary General, Atty. Noemi Truya (Cebu) as Treasurer and Atty. Janne Baterna (Iloilo) as Auditor. Atty. Jose Molintas, Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV and Atty. Carlos Zarate were elected Vice-Presidents for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, respectively. Thaddeus Tuburan was nominated Law Student representative while Roneo Clamor was nominated Paralegal representative.

The NUPL asked its members to be actively involved in any of its committees, namely:

1. The Legal Services Committee

2. The Campaigns and Advocacy Committee

3. The International Affairs Committee

4. The Organization and Membership Committee

5. The Lawyers Welfare and Protection Committee

6. The Education and Research Committee

The NUPL will hold its National Executive Board meeting in Cagayan de Oro this month. It will also send an observer-representative to the Council Meeting of the IADL in Geneva, Switzerland. #

Download the complete newsletter here.


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