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Gabriela questions Anti-Terror Law before SC

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The General Assembly of Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality Leadership, and Action (Gabriela) has expressed concerns that it and others already terrorized by the government will be targeted as terrorists under the Anti-Terrorism Law.

Because of this, GABRIELA on Friday (July 24) filed a petition asking the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as null and void the Anti-Terrorism Law for being unconstitutional.

“It is respectfully submitted that if the implementation of the assailed law is not retrained by this Honorable Court, one day, we might as well have countless ‘terrorists’ amongst –not the real ones though, but those who are tagged and ‘terrorized’ by the state for the work that they do in the service of the Filipino people,” read GABRIELA’s petition.

Even prior the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the group lamented it has “suffered immeasurable injury from attacks carried out organizationally against Petitioner GABRIELA and individually against the persons and liberty of individual Petitioners.”

“These attacks in various forms of harassment, red-tagging, villification, and case filing were and are being perpetrated by state agents from the highest official of the land, the President, the NTF-ELCAC ( National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) (which is also headed by the President) and its member-agencies, the military, the police, and down to some LGUs that chose to toe the line of the regional or local ELCAC)

Among its arguments in finding the law unconstitutional, the group pointed out the Anti-Terrorism Act’s definition of terrorism is “impermissibly vague and lacks sufficient sufficient comprehensible standards” and, thus, “must be declared unconstitutional for violating the due process clause of the Constitution.”

GABRIELA said the law grants authority to the Anti-Terrorism Council to order arrests without seeking arrest warrants from courts.

“This, in effect, allows intrusion into the exclusive judicial function, and thus, violates the principle of separation of powers,” it stated.

The group also lamented that the law also violates the constitionally-protected rights to speech, expression, association and other liberties.