Anti-terror law petitioner arrested

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time, a petitioner against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA) was arrested at a lumad school in Cebu last Monday, raising fears among petitioners that they are “seriously threatened” and that this has created a “chilling effect.”

Just before ending the third oral arguments on the ATA at past 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the 37 petitioners and at the same time one of the seven lawyers representing the petitioners, asked the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the law.

“For the first time in history, the petitioners and their counsel are seriously threatened prosecution under the challenged statute by no less than a military general who is part of the State enforcing the controverted ATA,” Lagman said.

He said volunteer teacher Chad Booc is accused of allegedly training 19 lumad children to be “child warriors” of a communist group.

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta recommended to Lagman and the other petitioners to put the request for TRO in writing. The SC would give give the Office of the Solicitor General 10 days upon receipt of the motion to file its comment.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said they may need more time to gather information since Booc was arrested in Cebu, not in Metro Manila.


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