Makabayan bloc moves to strike down anti-terror law
MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Act seeks to terrorize people into silence, members of the Makabayan bloc said in their petition filed before the Supreme Court.
This is the third petition filed with the Supreme Court to oppose the anti-terror law.
Petitioners said Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has violated several provisions of the Constitution.
Like the first two petitions, the Makabayan bloc called as broad and overbroad the definition of “terrorism,” which they said now punishes even free speech and expression, free press and the right to peaceably assemble.
“Self-censorship will abound, as Filipinos will fear the sweeping powers of the police, military, and other enforcers of RA 11479, such as arrest without warrant for up to 24 days on mere suspicion of being a “terrorist,” petitioners said.
Petitioners are Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro; and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago, as well as former legislators and heads of the progressive party-lists, namely, Bayan Muna President Saturnino Ocampo, Makabayan Co-Chairperson Liza Largoza Maza, Makabayan Chairperson Neri J. Colmenares, ACT Teachers President Antonio Tinio, Anakpawis Vice-President Ariel Casilao, and Makabayan Secretary General Nathanael Santiago.
They filed suit against President Rodrigo Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and the Anti-Terrorism Council, represented by its Chairman Salvador Medialdea.
Petitioners said they already took the case before the Supreme Court before its actual enforcement to prevent potential injury to the public. They pointed out that implementors of the new law already told its critics that they should be “tahimik lang” [stay quiet].
“The Makabayan bloc thus prays that the High Court strike down this law as early as now, before a single person is silenced, or before anyone is arrested and detained without any warrant,” petitioners said.
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