Labor rights groups file 7th petition vs Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Labor rights groups have joined a growing list of petitioners against Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).
On Thursday, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE) filed a case against the newly signed anti-terror law expressing “deep concern on how the ATA will affect unionists and labor rights defenders.” This is the 7th petition lodged before the Supreme Court less than a week after the Palace confirmed on July 3 that President Rodrigo has approved it.
“Because of the vague definition of terrorism and the absolute power it gives the state forces, this law can definitely be used against the labor movement,” the groups pointed out.
Even without the ATA, they said unionists and labor rights defenders have been subjected to various forms of harassments, red-tagging, and trumped-up charges.
“This law will worsen the struggles of workers in pushing for their rights and demands.”
CTUHR was represented in the petition by Daisy Arago while PLACE was represented by Atty. Noel V. Neri, Armando Teodoro Jr., Violeta Espiritu, and Virginia Flores.
Named respondents in the petition were Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, members of the Anti-Terrorism Council, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and several agencies under the Executive Department.
The first six cases against the anti-terror law were filed by the group of lawyer Howard Calleja and former education secretary Armin Luistro; Rep. Edcel C. Lagman; the group of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria and several professors of the Far Eastern University (FEU); the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives led by Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate; former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel Rudolph Philip B. Jurado; and the group of 1986 Constitutional Commission members Christian S. Monsod and Felicitas A. Aquino and the Ateneo Human Rights Center.
The Supreme Court has consolidated the first four cases and directed the Office of the President and several agencies in the Executive Department and both houses of Congress to comment in 10 days regarding the petitioners’ contention that the new law is unconstitutional, as well as their prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is set to take effect on July 19.
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