Citing Parlade's red-tagging, petitioners press SC for preliminary injunction vs anti-terrorism law

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Citing Parlade's red-tagging, petitioners press SC for preliminary injunction vs anti-terrorism law
Protesters gather at University Avenue in Up Diliman in Quezon City as they picket in time for President Rodrigo Dutertes 5th State of the Nation last July 27, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Calling on the Supreme Court to protect their, and the citizens’ rights, petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 on Monday pressed the tribunal to issue a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the law.

Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, represented by the National Union of Peoples Lawyers, filed a 12-page Manifestation with Omnibus Motion before the SC, reiterating their prayer for a status quo ante, temporary restraining order or preliminary prohibitory injunction to enjoin the government from enforcing the much feared anti-terrorism law.

“The issuance of the [Implementing Rules and Regulations] has set the stage for the unimpeded implementation of the assailed law; the targeting of activists and critics of the government; the suppression of dissent; and the curtailment of civil and political rights, all in the altar of national security,” the petitioners said.

The Department of Justice last week released the IRR of Republic Act 11479, which the petitioners said still contain the same, if not more, questionable provisions of the law.

BAYAN stressed that the grant of their provisional relief would not determine the merits of the case, but would protect them and other citizens “who stand to be victimized by such a draconian law.”

The group is just one of the 36 other petitioners assailing the law before the SC. The tribunal has only so far announced they will conduct oral arguments on the petitions.

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta last Friday admitted difficulties in the oral arguments with the sheer number of petitions and lawyers to attend the oral arguments. He however said justices may reach an agreement on the date on the oral arguments mid-November.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Domingo Egon Cayosa, also a petitioner in the case, said a day after Peralta’s announcement, they facilitated a meeting among the 37 petitioners for coordination for the oral arguments.

“Considering the seriousness and importance of the constitutional issues raised against the ATA, it is best that the parties are heard forthright and the issues surrounding the much-questioned law be resolved in a timely manner,” they said.

EXPLAINER: Cheat sheet on the looming legal battle on the anti-terrorism law

Parlade’s continued red-tagging

The petitioners noted that the IRR were promulgated “with the active participation of police and military institutions,” which include Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, who has been red-tagging human rights and cause-oriented individuals and groups.

READ: 'I won't stop': Parlade red-tags Colmenares anew

Parlade, in an interview with ANC on Monday morning, confirmed that members of the Makabayan bloc — House members from progressive party-lists — are under government surveillance.

He said that with the anti-terrorism law in effect, “we have to do our job,” part of which is “to make sure that we have strong case against people, against organizations who by the way have been declared as terrorist organizations” according to a proclamation by the president.

Parlade was referring to 2017 proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terrorist organization. But this is merely a presidential proclamation while a petition for proscription to designate CPP-NPA as terrorists remains pending before the Manila court.

The petitioners stressed that being labelled as "terrorists" and "terrorist front organizations" open them and other red-tagged groups to "public pillory and perdition."

"It is the rights of said petitioners that are in immediate and grave danger of being violated and irreparably injured with the enforcement of R.A. 11479 and especially with this expansive IRR," they said.

“The absence of provisional relief for the petitioners herein makes them the vulnerable targets, especially considering that security officials and the NTF-ELCAC and in effect the ATC have already painted them as enemies in the government’s counter-insurgency campaign,” Bayan said.

They stressed: “It may even spell the difference between life and death for individuals in the crosshairs of those intolerant of dissent and divergence.”

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