Feb 20, 2021 @ 12:45

Credible threat of prosecution? Parlade declares Chad Booc ‘liable’ under Terror Law

Chad Errol Booc, a volunteer teacher for Lumad children who is among the petitioners challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), has been declared “liable under the ATA” by the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In his February 19 column for The Manila Times, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., without explaining the basis for his claims, accused Booc of teaching children as part of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) “revolutionary dual tactics” that allegedly had him fighting for his advocacy and getting foreign funding aboveground while “radicalizing” his students.

“Is Booc an activist until now? Yes. But is he someone else in the context of the Anti-Terrorism Act? Yes, he is a criminal because he went beyond what is protected by the law and the Constitution,” Parlade wrote.

“He has been recruiting for the CPP-NPA terrorist organization which makes him liable under the ATA. He is doubly liable for doing this to minor children,” he added.

Parlade then stated: “Going back to the question: why wouldn’t they stop accusing the government of red-tagging, again, now with the arrest of Booc? Because that’s the only alibi left for them.”

Petitioners like Booc argued that they face imminent and credible threat of prosecution under the ATA in asking the Supreme Court (SC) to rule upon the constitutionality of its allegedly vague and overbroad provisions that violate the principle of separation of powers.

The government, through the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG), wanted them to wait to suffer the effects of the ATA first before getting the SC to look into the legal issues.

Booc was one of the several persons arrested in a raid at the Lumad Bakwit School in a retreat house in the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban campus in Cebu City on February 15. They were charged with kidnapping, human trafficking, and child abuse.

The Lumad children were displaced students of the Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc.—itself a petitioner against the ATA—which the Department of Education (DepEd) shut down upon the complaint of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon. #

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