An organization of lawyers has expressed dismay over the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petition which sought to compel the government to conduct “proactive and efficient” mass testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and “release immediately accurate, timely, and complete information” on the drive against the pandemic.

nupl - Lawyers’ group dismayed over SC decision on ramping up COVID-19 response

“SC dismissal of the petition for mandamus calling for proactive mass testing and effective contact tracing to address COVID-19 pandemic regrettably leaves the people’s right to health and to information up in the air,” said the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said in a statement.

The SC Public Information Office (SCPIO) announced on Wednesday (Sept. 16) the high tribunal has issued a resolution which dismissed the petition that was filed by a group led by former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sec. Judy Taguiwalo.

NUPL, the legal counsel of petitioners, said the SC resolution “dashes hopes that our inept and negligent government will be compelled to do its constitutional duty to protect and respect the people’s rights to health and information.”

“For the half year that we have been placed under quarantine, we have not seen significant improvements in mass testing, contract tracing and isolation,” NUPL lamented.

“Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are spiking once again while our medical frontliners and resources continue to be exhausted,” it added.

The NUPL pointed out the government is “counting not on itself and what it can do to arrest the health crisis once and for all, but on coronavirus vaccines from other countries that have yet to come.”

Despite the SC ruling, NUPL assured it did “not dispirit our clients and the communities and sectors they represent.”

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