Writ of Amparo

Atty. Noel Atienza
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Amparo was borrowed from Mexico: the right of amparo is a Mexican legal procedure to protect human rights. 

Of Mexican origin, thus, “amparo” literally means “protection” in Spanish. de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” had been available in Mexico, in 1837 and its description of judicial review practice in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists. 

Mexican justice Manuel Crescencio Rejón, drafted a constitutional provision for his native state, Yucatan, which empowered jurists to protect all persons in the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights. This was incorporated into the 1847 national constitution. 

The great right proliferated in the Western Hemisphere, slowly evolving into various fora. Amparo became, in the words of a Mexican Federal Supreme Court Justice, Mexico’s “task of conveying to the world’s legal heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her own painful history conceived

The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.

Who May File

The petition may be filed by the aggrieved party or by any qualified person or entity in the following order:

  1. Any member of the immediate family, namely: the spouse, children and parents of the aggrieved party;
  • Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph; or
  • Any concerned citizen, organization, association or institution, if there is no known member of the immediate family or relative of the aggrieved party. The filing of a petition by the aggrieved party suspends the right of all other authorized parties to file similar petitions. Likewise, the filing of the petition by an authorized party on behalf of the aggrieved party suspends the right of all others, observing the order established herein.

The writ of Amparo eases the problem of unresolved killings of drug suspects as it guarantees the aggrieved parties their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and security of person. To reiterate, the goal of the writ is to deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

The difference between these two writs is that habeas corpus is designed to enforce the right to freedom of the person, whereas amparo is designed to protect those other fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution but not covered by the writ of habeas corpus.”

Amparo and Habeas data are prerogative writs to supplement the inefficacy of the writ of habeas corpus (Rule 102, Revised Rules of Court). Amparo means ‘protection,’ while habeas data is ‘access to information.’[1] Both writs were conceived to solve the extensive Philippine extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances since 1999.

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