Proper Documentation Crucial To Finding Justice In Drug-Related Cases

A scene from the Write The Wrong Seminar last June 6, 2018. Photo has been edited to keep identity of speakers and participants confidential. (Photo credit: Glenn Velasco)

Proper documentation as the right foundation towards gaining justice in drug-related cases was the main lesson taught to volunteers of AKAP or Abot Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago, the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (CBDRP) of the Diocese of Novaliches, during a two-day seminar on “Write the Wrong (Building the Foundation of the Case to Access Justice)” held at the Caritas Office in Fairview, Quezon City last June 6-7. 2018

“It is important to know the context of your documentation and the essentials needed in writing your narrative,” said the main speaker whose name was asked to be undisclosed for purposes of security and safety. “Para saan ba ito at dapat silipin sa aspeto ng legal at human rights.”

He added that a documentation or narrative which would be admissible in court should include all relevant circumstances so that the case will be understood and evaluated.

Present to give words of encouragement to the volunteers was Assistant to the Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Karl Comiling. Speaking on behalf of the Vicar General Rev. Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr., he said the two- day seminar will properly equip volunteers with the necessary knowledge and writing skills to document drug-related cases in the Diocese.

While this is the Church’s answer to the Extra-Judicial Killings (EJKs) and to the Government’s war against drugs, he put emphasis on the fact that AKAP is a new ministry that addresses a three-pronged mission that includes the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), non-government organizations (NGOs) and others in the Diocese.

“Ito ‘yung buhay, pamilya at sambayanan,” he said, adding that the AKAP recovery program is not limited to the drug dependent and his family but likewise includes the community to achieve not just healing but to also remove the stigma associated with addiction so that they can comfortably be accepted back in society.

Starting off the seminar is a talk by a lawyer, whose name was also asked to be undisclosed for the purposes of this article, that focused on human rights and how it plays a big role in this undertaking. She added that it is inherent in all human beings to have human rights. Thus, ensuring nondiscrimination and equality.

“No one is left out,” she said, “lahat may access to justice and in the development process, especially the marginalized and the most vulnerable groups.”

She discussed the human rights-based approach (HRBA), which is corollary to documentation and writing tasks as “documentation stretches beyond” the “case story but includes effects on the families of victims, as well as, the community of which they are a part of”.
Other topics discussed during the two-day seminar included transitional justice (TJ), legal documentation form and guidelines, evidence gathering, psychological first aid and “Community Case Analysis of Writ of Amparo”. The event was wrapped up by a documentation planning and a workshop on output planning. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)