Jul 14, 2020 @ 15:58

SC orders consolidation of all petitions vs new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the consolidation of all eight petitions – four consolidated this week while the other four last week – all seeking to declare as unconstitutional part or the entirety of the recently-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

High court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka confirmed the consolidation of the petitions in a message sent to reporters.

“I would like to inform everyone from the media that the following petitions involving Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 have also been consolidated together with the 4 earlier petitions consolidated last week:

1. GR No 252613, Jurado vs. The Anti-Terrorism Council, et al.
2. GR No 252623, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, et al. vs. Hon. Rodrigo Duterte, et al.
3. GR No 252624, Christian S. Monsod, et al. vs. Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, et al.
4. GR No. 252647, Sanlakas vs. Rodrigo R. Duterte, ” Hosaka said.

Last week, the SC ordered the consolidation of:

1. Atty. Howard M. Calleja et al. vs. Executive Secretary, et al. GR No. 252578.
2. Rep. Edcel C. Lagman vs. Executive Secretary et al. GR No. 252579.
3. Melencio S. Sta Maria, et al. vs. Executive Secretary, et al. GR No. 252580.
4. Bayan Muna Party-List Representatives et al. vs Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, et al. GR No. 252585.

Former government corporate counsel Rudolf Philip Jurado filed a petition seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.

In his petition, Jurado asked the high court to declare as unconstitutional sections 4 and 29, which defined terrorism and allowed the detention of suspects for 24 days even without judicial warrant.

Also, labor and human rights groups Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center expressed fears that several provisions of the new legislation may be used to violate people’s constitutional like lfreedom of speech and expression, right to travel, right to privacy, and right to form unions or associations.

“We filed a petition, on behalf of workers, unionists and labor rights defenders who have long been targets of the state’s repression. We have documented and sometimes even witnessed firsthand, their arrest, detention and other forms of harassment. Others have even been killed in their clamor for change,” CTUHR Executive Director Daisy Arago said in a statement.

Furthermore, the group questioned the broad and vague definition of terrorism in the newly-signed law, and Section 29 which allowed the detention of suspects for 24 days without judicial warrant.

“We firmly believe that many provisions of this new law, beginning with the overly broad and vague definition of terrorism which may lead to the violation of a persons’ right to due process. The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that ‘No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,’” the group added.

Also, former ConCom (Constitutional Commission) Monsod and Felicitas A. Arroyo filed their petition against the controversial legislation.

They were joined by Ateneo and Xavier Law professors, the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, and labor group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

In their petition, Monsod and his co-petitioners urged the high court to declare 11 provisions of the controversial legislation as unconstitutional.

On the other hand, Sanlakas thru its President Manjette Lopez, represented by counsels JV Bautista, Emmanuel Jabla and Sanlakas Secretary General Aaron Pedrosa, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for a temporary restraining order, against RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Law.

“Since Sanlakas was founded in 1993, its members have staunchly advocated for social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental reforms to improve living conditions of marginalized Filipinos. Often, calls for such come in the form of advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action – all of which R.A. 11479 now lists as acts of the crime of terrorism when deemed to be coupled with harmful intents,” said Bautista, Lead Counsel of Sanlakas.

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