Terror suspects file 28th plea vs terror law
MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Terrorism Act poses a “real and credible threat” against innocent Muslims who have been wrongly tagged as members of Islamist extremist groups, according to the latest legal challenge against the new law.
Through their lawyers, a detained suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf and two others who were previously detained on suspicion of being members of extremist groups filed the 28th petition asking the Supreme Court to strike down the antiterrorism law for being unconstitutional.
Jimmy Bla, who is currently detained in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City; Main Mohammad of Zamboanga City; and Nazr Dilangalen of Maguindanao were joined by their lawyers and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) in the petition.
Bla has been detained since his arrest in Zamboanga City in 2018 after he was “randomly” tagged as an Abu Sayyaf member.
Mohammad, who is an imam, was arrested in 2017 and detained for nearly two years in Camp Bagong Diwa before a court dismissed the case against him because the government’s witness was not able to identify him as an Abu Sayyaf member.
Dilangalen, an engineer with the city engineering office in Cotabato City, was arrested in 2017 and detained for nearly two years for allegedly being a recruiter of the Maute-Abu Sayyaf before his case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
They said they were among the “numerous victims of wrongful arrests and mistaken identities in the government’s fight against terror.”
They added that the new antiterrorism law makes citizens like them “vulnerable to being rearrested and detained on mere suspicion of being terrorists even in the absence of probable cause.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear all the petitions in open court sometime in the third week of September. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.