“The attacks on Atty. Guillen and the Southern Luzon activists are not just a condemnable assault on a member of the legal profession and civil society actors, but also a stab to the heart of the Constitution. Petitioners and their counsel ultimately wish to underline the foregoing as part of the general societal context that engendered the assailed law.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Following the attempted murder of an Iloilo-based lawyer and the killings and arrests in Southern Tagalog, lawyers filed another motion seeking to stop the implementation of Anti-Terror Act before the Supreme Court.
Petitioners against the ATA filed a joint manifestation and joint reiterative motion for issuance of injuctive against the ATA, citing the attempted killing of Angelo Karlo Guillen and the public statement of President Rodrigo Duterte ordering law enforcers to kill supposed armed rebels and to not mind human rights.
They noted that two days after this statement, combined police and military elements raided houses and an office in Southern Tagalog, where nine were killed and six others were arrested.
“The attacks on Atty. Guillen and the Southern Luzon activists are not just a condemnable assault on a member of the legal profession and civil society actors, but also a stab to the heart of the Constitution. Petitioners and their counsel ultimately wish to underline the foregoing as part of the general societal context that engendered the assailed law,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners have been asking the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against the ATA since last year. The SC reportedly deferred decision on the motion until the Office of Solicitor General has responded on the said motions. https://www.cnn.ph/news/2021/3/5/Supreme-Court-TRO-anti-terrorism-law-SolGen.html
In a press conference today, March 9, counsels and petitioners against Republic Act 11479 or Anti-Terror Act of 2020 issued a joint statement condemning the attack on Guillen and the crackdown in Southern Tagalog.
“The killing and arrests of subjects of warrants in Rizal, Laguna and Cavite cause grave concern as these are members of groups also petitioning the SC for the invalidation of RA 11479,” the statement read.
Signatories include Former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former SC Justice and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.
They raised their concern over the “rising number of deaths resulting from the enforcement of ‘search warrants’ issued by the courts on the ground that the subject ‘fought back’ (nanlaban).” They said this is no different from the deaths of drug suspects in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
The lawyers further said that they are alarmed that proliferation of search warrants will ensue under the law which they said “does not contain clear judicially determinable standards, giving enforcement agencies a general warrant to search and arrest suspected persons.”
Human rights lawyer Antonio La Viña also said that law should be used to protect the people and not use it to further suppress their rights.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that violence in the country has not addressed important issues hounding the Filipino people such as poverty and the lack of comprehensive COVID-19 response in the country.