Ironically, cases against red-tagged individuals are being dismissed by government courts for lack of probable cause or because of insufficient evidence. Motions to quash search warrants were also granted by the courts, declaring whatever so-called evidence the police have acquired during the search as inadmissible.
“An urgent and decisive action from the Supreme Court is a matter of life and death for activists and human rights defenders especially now when we are being increasingly targeted in the government’s counterinsurgency and counterterror campaign for our work and causes.”
“While a law penalizing red-tagging is welcome, the draconian Anti-Terrorism Act violates our basic human rights, including the right to a free press.”
“At this crucial juncture when the other institutions have defaulted on us, we fervently welcome these bold and unequivocal declarations, initial steps and further plans from our very own refuge.”
“The multiple deaths resulting from the execution of search warrants, the claims that the police planted evidence in the course of the search, and the perceived misuse of court processes to attack activists and dissenters all demand comprehensive reforms in the issuance of search warrants and their implementation.”
“This is not enforcement of the law anymore, this is wild, wild west where they just kill without distinction.”
IADL President Jeanne Mirer said the attacks on Filipino lawyers are in violation of international law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the Convention against Torture and even of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, among others.
“When lawyers, prosecutors, and workers in the justice sector are murdered with impunity and alarming regularity, no one feels safe; our people lose trust and faith in our government and its justice system, and the unscrupulous are emboldened to take the law in their criminal hands.”
“The complainants bring the instant action in order to finally address a continuing wrong, to vindicate their basic rights, and to remind public officials that illegal, improper, unjust and oppressive acts and utterances, especially those vicious and virulent, are not without consequence. We also just want to do our work as lawyers,” the complaint read.
“The subtext of our legal submissions is that hers is a case of patent abuse of authority by the state — of a negotiated procurement of defective search warrants; of a crackdown not on crime, but on legitimate dissent; of an oft recycled charge of illegal possession of firearms and explosives lodged against activists filed not on the basis of fact and evidence, but on the convenience of the unavailability of posting bail as a matter of right.”
The Anti-Terrorism Act violates international standards on human rights and countering-terrorism with its vague and overboard definitions of “terrorism” as well as the excessive powers it grants to the Executive branch of the government.