Human rights advocates file 28th case with SC vs. Anti-Terrorism Act

Published August 18, 2020, 3:59 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Several lawyers and members of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) filed with the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, August 18, the 28th petition against the alleged unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Members of Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) along with lawyers of the Ateneo Legal Services (ALSC) and several lawyers file a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify portions of Republic Act Nom 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Law at Supreme Court in Manila on Tuesday. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

They asked the SC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that would stop the implementation of the law that started last July 18.

A check with the SC showed that the High Court did not tackle the petitions against ATA in its online full court session on Tuesday.

Records showed that the respondents in the later cases – from the ninth to the 25th petition — have not filed their comments as required.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had filed its comment for the first eight petitions and sought their dismissal.

Specifically challenged in the 28th petition are six provisions in the ATA under Republic Act No. 11479.

The new petitioners wanted the SC to declare void and unconstitutional Sections 10, 12 in relation to Section 3 (e), 25, 29, 34, and 36.

Listed as petitioners are Main T. Mohammad, Jimmy P. Bla, Nazr S. Dilangalen, the PAHRA represented by Rosemarie R. Trajano, Rupert Axel M. Cruz, Maria Patricia Cervantes Poco, Leo Angelo R. Anonuevo, Takahiro Kenjie C. Aman and Muhammad Muktadir A. Estrella.

They were represented by the Ateneo Legal Services Center.

The respondents in the Executive Department were led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, and the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The petition also pleaded for the conduct of oral arguments.

But last week, the SC announced it would conduct oral arguments on the petitions against ATA “on the third week of September at the earliest, and proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized.”

While there are only 25 petitions officially docketed at the SC as of August 11, there were two other petitions which were filed through the post office by two separate groups in Mindanao.

Once received by the SC from the post office, the two petitions will be included in the list of cases filed against ATA.

Based on the list given by the SC’s public information office (PIO), the petitioners in the 25 filed cases were:

Group of lawyer Howard Calleja and former education secretary Armin Luistro, under docket number 252258;  Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, 252579;  the group of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria and several professors of the Far Eastern University (FEU), 252580;

The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives led by Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, 252585; the former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel Rudolph Philip B. Jurado, 252613;

Two labor groups represented by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and the Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center (PLACE), 252623; the group of former members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission Christian S. Monsod and Felicitas A. Aquino and their group from the Ateneo Human Rights Center, 252624;

Party-List organization Sanlakas, 252646; several labor groups led by the Federation of Free Workers, 252702; Ferrer, 252726;  the group of cause-oriented and advocacy organizations led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, 252733; the group of former SC Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales, 252736; 

The group of Ma. Ceres Doyo and former Constitutional Commission members Florangel Rosario Braid and Professor Edmundo Garcia, 252741; National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, 252747; Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan, 252755; and the group of Algamar Latiph, 252759.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, 252767; GABRIELA, 252768;  Lawrence Yerbo, Undocketed, 16663; Henry Abendan, 252802;  Concerned Online Citizens, 253809; Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties, 252903; Beverly Longid, 252904; Center for International Law, 252905.

Not yet docketed as of Monday, August 17, and mailed in Mindanao were two petitions filed separately by the groups of Deputy House Speaker Mujiv Hataman and several Mindanaoans.