Sectoral groups, red-tagging ‘victims’ file 10th petition vs. Anti-Terror Law
MANILA, Philippines – Cause oriented and advocacy groups, along with individuals claiming to be victims of the government’s red-tagging drive have joined the call for the Supreme Court (SC) to strike down as unconstitutional Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terror Law.
The petition is the 10th case filed against the controversial law that has already taken effect last July 18, 2020 even without its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
In the latest petition, the SC was asked stop the convening of the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) and the exercise of its functions.
The ATC, under the law was given the authority to order the arrest of suspected terrorists and unilaterally designate persons as terrorists
They also called on the high court to stop the drafting of the IRR and the convening of the Joint Oversight Committee under Section 50 of the law.
The petitioners are asking the SC to strike down the entire law for being unconstitutional.
Prior to the enactment of ATA, petitioners represented by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said they have already been subjected to red-tagging as communists by the government.
“Red-tagging, harassment, and killings of trade unionists continues. Intervention by State security forces in union meetings and affairs, threats and profiling of members–including of a national alliance of teachers–have been reported,” petitioners said.
“The International Labour Organization Committee on Freedom of Association has also raised concerns about ‘blanket linkages of trade unions to an insurgency’ placing unionists in situations of extreme security,” they said.
They added that even members of the legal profession were not spared. A total of 50 have been killed since June 2016, “many who were working on politically sensitive cases or advocating for land rights of farmers and indigenous peoples.
“As shown, the assailed law serves as the trigger for hands that have long been poised to shoot. Verily, the prosecution and escalated persecution of petitioners are not questions of if, but when and how large a scale the ensuing human rights crisis will be,” they added.
Similar to the first nine petitions, they said the ATA violates:
- the due process clause of the Constitution because of the extremely vague definition of “terrorism” (Section 4 Terrorism);
- the free speech clause under the Constitution (Sections 4 and 9 Inciting to Commit Terrorism);
- the constitutional right to due process, right to property, and freedom of association, and for usurping judicial prerogatives (Section 25 Designation of Terrorist Individual, Groups of Persons, Organizations or Associations);
- the due process clause and encroaches upon protected freedoms (Sections 26 Proscription of Terrorist Organizations, Association, or Group of Persons and 27 Preliminary Order of Proscription);
- the constitutional protection against warrantless arrests and detention without charges (Section 29 Detention Without Judicial Warrant of Arrest); and
- the constitutionally protected right to bail and right to travel (Section 34 Restriction on the Right to Travel).
The latest batch of petitioners include Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr., activist nun Mother Mary Mananzan, former UP President Francisco Nemenzo, former UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, former NCCA chair Felipe De Leon, former DSWD secretary Judy Taguiwalo, human rights defender Edith Burgos, civil libertarian Renato Constantino Jr., former NAPC undersecretary Corazon Jimenez-Tan, former DSWD undersecretary Malou Turalde-Jarabe, playwright Bonifacio Ilagan, Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino, artist Mae Paner, Prof. Temario Rivera, Francisco Alcuaz, Fr. Freddy Dulay, veteran activist Nanay Mameng Deunida and journalist Vergel Santos, among others.
Representatives from the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Health Alliance for Democracy, Pamalakaya, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Salinlahi, COURAGE, and Piston also joined the petition.
Named respondents in the petition are President Rodrigo Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House of Representatives Speaker Alan Cayetano.
The broad range of petitioners are represented by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL): Edre Olalia (president), Ephraim Cortez (secretary-general), Josalee Deinla (spokesperson) and Kathy Panguban (Women and Children Committee Head), assisted by Angelo Guillen, Rene Estocapio, Melanie Pinlac, Hilton Lazo and Frank Tiongson.
The petition was filed via electronic filing. The physical filing of the petition is scheduled on Thursday as the Supreme Court is closed for disinfection from Monday to Wednesday.
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