The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers was founded on September 15, 2007 as a nationwide voluntary association of human rights lawyers in the Philippines, committed to the defense, protection, and promotion of human rights, especially of the poor and the oppressed.

The clientele of NUPL are the marginalized and oppressed sectors — the farmers, workers, fisherfolk, urban poor, women, youth, students, children, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, Moro people, minority groups, political activists and human rights defenders.

One hundred forty one lawyers, law students and paralegals attended the founding congress of the NUPL marking it as one of the largest gatherings of human rights lawyers since martial law. Thirty-eight lawyers from Luzon, twenty-three lawyers from Visayas and twenty lawyers from Mindanao form part of its founding members together with law students and paralegals from various regions.

NUPL was organized to provide mechanisms for collaboration, coordination, assistance and facilitation of legal services in the local and national levels. As a frontline advocacy group, NUPL is directly engaged in litigation and legal consultancy as a venue for advocacy on issues affecting the rights of the people and an arena to serve them even more effectively and efficiently.

The NUPL is oriented towards the active defense, protection and promotion of human rights covering the peoples’ civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, including the advocacy and assertion of their inherent right to self-determination.

As a principal mission, the NUPL is united and committed to render competent legal services, with the use of one’s legal education, skills, training, knowledge and experience, to the marginalized sectors for the upholding and promotion of their rights and freedoms.


  • To render concrete, specific, prompt, and competent legal services to victims of violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the poor and oppressed and to facilitate and coordinate the rendition of such services.
  • To vigorously, systematically and aggressively prepare, file, prosecute and pursue all kinds of cases, complaints, investigations, lobbying against suspected perpetrators of such violations.
  • To maximize and rationalize the practical use of existing judicial, quasi-judicial and other legal fora and remedies in the national and international levels including the mechanisms arising out of the peace process for the defense, protection and promotion of human rights.
  • To campaign, advocate and lobby for the liberties, freedoms and rights of the Filipino people as well as those of other peoples of the world.
  • To share concrete experiences in handling human rights cases and come up with specific recommendations and mechanisms to help ensure the defense, promotion and protection of human rights and to substantially contribute to the removal of impunity for violations therefor.
  • To concretize and institutionalize steps and programs for the protection of the security and welfare of lawyers who are under threat and attack by virtue of the exercise of the profession especially those involved in human rights practice as well as on the welfare of the families of those who have been killed or attacked.
  • To promote human rights lawyering as a viable professional alternative, provide venues to conduct research and for professional and political education, development, cooperation and mutual support for its members.
  • To link up, establish and maintain professional and solidarity linkages with other national and international individuals, groups or organizations.


1. Legal Services Program (LSP)

Provide competent legal services to victims of human rights violations, including services for the prosecution of human rights violators as part of NUPL’s commitment to actively participate in the battle against impunity, using existing legal forums and remedies in the national and international levels.

2. Campaigns and Advocacy Program (CAP)

Conducts advocacy and popular education for the promotion, protection and defense of human rights. CAP creates the environment for linking up, networking and developing relations with personalities and groups, especially lawyers groups for the promotion, protection and defense of human rights and helps promote public interest lawyering as a viable professional alternative.

3. Education and Research Program (ERP)

Conducts research and documentation of relevant national, international and sectoral issues. The ERP provides venues for education, training and development of NUPL members and the public on relevant national and other issues.

4. Protection and Welfare of Lawyers Program (PWLP)

Conducts activities for the promotion and protection of the welfare of lawyers under attack and their families, which include monitoring and documenting these attacks and actively participating in the prosecution of the cases filed against the perpetrators of these attacks.

5. Organization and Expansion Program (OEP)

Promote human rights lawyering as a real, alternative law practice and conduct activities for consolidation and development of NUPL members. Conduct activities that strengthen relations and enhance cooperation with lawyers groups in the Philippines. Develop human rights lawyers from among law students, legal workers, practitioners and paralegals.

6. International Solidarity Program (ISP)

Link up and establish professional and solidarity relations with international individuals, groups or organizations of lawyers and non-lawyers. Actively participate in activities abroad and in international campaigns on human rights and other relevant issues.



NUPL officers photo


(Elected at the Founding Congress, September 16, 2007)

Chairperson – Atty. Romeo T. Capulong (NCR)

President – Atty. Frederico Gapuz (Cagayan de Oro)

Secretary General Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares (NCR)


Vice Presidents

for Luzon – Atty. Jose Molintas (Cordillera Autonomous Region)

for Visayas – Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV (Cebu)

for Mindanao – Atty. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate (Davao)

Treasurer – Atty. Noemi Truya-Abarientos (Cebu)

Auditor – Atty. Janne Baterna (Iloilo)


Deputy Secretaries General

Legal Services – Atty. Rachel F. Pastores (NCR)

Education & Research – Atty. Claire Padilla (NCR)

Campaign & Advocacy – Atty. Jobert Pahilga (NCR)

Organization & Membership – Grace Saguinsin (NCR)

Protection & Welfare – Atty. Alberto Hidalgo (Leyte)

International Solidarity – Atty. Edre U. Olalia (NCR)


Law student Representative Thadz Tuburan (Cagayan de Oro)

Paralegal Representative Roneo Clamor (NCR)





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