Carpio, Carpio-Morales prod SC: Filipinos 'chilled to silence' by fear of anti-terrorism law
This composite photo shows former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, Boy Santos
Carpio, Carpio-Morales prod SC: Filipinos 'chilled to silence' by fear of anti-terrorism law
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - October 28, 2020 - 3:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Supreme Court Justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales, and legal luminaries from the University of the Philippines urged the tribunal to act on their pleas, saying Filipinos have been “chilled to silence” in fear of the contentious Anti-Terrorism Act of 2022.

Citing the clear and irreparable injury the petitioners would suffer, they filed a reiterative motion on Wednesday urging the SC to resolve their prayer for, and issue, a status quo ante or temporary restraining order to keep the government from enforcing Republic Act 11479.

“Petitioners have demonstrated clear and irreparable injury: the grim reality remains that even before charges have been brought to the court, a Filipino shall have been chilled to silence for fear of warrantless arrest, detention for a maximum of24 days without charges, designation as a ‘terrorist,’ freezing of assets, and restrictions on movement,” their motion read.

Nearly four months have passed since President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law and petitions started pouring in at the SC. To date, there are 37 legal challenges pending before the SC, but the court has yet to resolve the petitions’ prayers for immediate relief.

The SC has so far only announced that it will hold oral arguments on the case, but even the date is still undetermined.

READ: SC determining common issues for anti-terror law oral arguments

Implementing Rules still questionable

The Department of Justice mid-October published the ATA’s Implementing Rules and Regulation, which, the petitioners said, only shows the government’s resolve to implement a law “that is unconstitutional for its dire ramifications to fundamental constitutional rights of not only the Petitioners but also the People themselves.”

The petitioners noted that Carpio and Carpio-Morales have consistently voiced their opposition to government policies, and have even been tagged in supposed plots to oust the president. The allegations of trying to oust the president did not prosper.

Other petitioners from the UP College of Law are also vocal critics of the government, while law professors sometimes disagree with policies that may be construed as terroristic advocacy.

Their social and political opinions land them in the crosshairs of the ATA and its IRR, they said. “Their aforementioned rights then stand susceptible to violation over the course of their exercise of their duty to ‘interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied,” they said.

They also noted that the highly contested definition of terrorism under RA 11479, criticized for being vague and overbroad, was merely replicated in the IRR.

The petitioners also asserted that that IRR “would not be enough to protect activists from the malicious enforcement of the assailed law.”

READ: Petitioners find same problematic provisions in anti-terrorism law IRR

Publication of suspected terrorists

The Carpios also assailed Rule 6.5 of the IRR that allows the publication of resolutions of Anti-Terrorism Council, which include names of suspected terrorists.

“Their propensity to condemn before they hear (in some cases, no hearing at all) makes designation no more than a witch-hunt,” they said.

READ: 'Mother of red-tagging': No process yet to remove names from terror list

They also noted that IRR is also “deafeningly silent on any recourse or hearing” to give suspected persons or organizations the opportunity to be informed, heard, or refute evidence prior to publication and posting of Anti-Terrorism Council’s resolutions.

The only remedy can only be applied for after the publication was done, and if denied, suspected persons and groups must wait six months to file another appeal.

“The assailed law already takes the character of a bill of attainder, but the IRR worsens it by imposing a bill of attainder by executive fiat,” the petitioners said.

A bill of attainder is a “legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial.”

“This Honorable Court must step in to prevent any imminent and threatened enforcement of the ATA, especially with the effectivity of the ATA IRR. These developments will surely disrupt the status quo as law enforcers rob herein Petitioners of the free exercise of their previously unhampered Constitutional liberties,” they added.

Lagman: Red-tagging of lawmakers, celebrities justify TRO

Meanwhile, Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay), also one of the petitioners against the anti-terrorism law, said that the relentless red-tagging by military officials like Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. is a major reason for the SC to stop the implementation of the law.

Lagman, in a separate statement, said that the ATA has emboldened military officials to brand even sitiing lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc as “terrorists” for allegedly being “card-bearing members of the Communists Party of the Philippines.”

“Parlade has even justified the surveillance of targeted legislators under the new anti-terrorism law,” he added.

“The persecution and execution of human rights advocates and defenders will intensify if the implementation of the constitutionally infirm law is not restrained pending final adjudication of the 37 petitions,” Lagman also said.

The SC is currently on a writing break and will meet en banc, or as a whole court, on November 3.

ANTI-TERRORISM LAW ANTONIO CARPIO CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES SUPREME COURT UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
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