Worried that the lives and freedom of their members are in grave danger, the Bayan Muna Partylist on Monday appealed to the Supreme Court to expedite the resolution of over 30 petitions seeking to declare “unconstitutional” the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate issued the appeal amid the alleged “terrorist-tagging” activities of the National Task Froce to End Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Joining Zarate in urging High Court action on the anti-ATL petitions were Reps. Ferdinand Gaite and Ofelia Cullamat.
“Case in point is former Bayan Muna Rep. Siegfred Deduro who has asked a local court in Iloilo City for protection after being accused by the military of being a high-ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA),” said Zarate.
Zarate added: “We strongly condemn this non-stop vilification and threats on the security and life of our colleague, Siegfred, and we trust that the writ prayed for will be granted the soonest.”
Deduro, who served as Bayan Muna representative in the 12th Congress and now its vice president for the Visayas, filed a petition for a writ of amparo before a regional trial court (RTC) late this week as he continued to feel threatened by state forces.
The former solon made the move after being accused last June of being a leading officer of the CPP-NPA in Panay island by Maj. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commanding general of the Philippine Army’s Third Infantry Division (3ID).
“We do not want a repeat of what happened to Zara Alvarez of Bacolod who filed for a writ of amparo but was denied and then she was later assassinated,” said Zarate.
The opposition leader said the judiciary’s quick and favorable resolution of the cases objecting to the ATL could save “the very lives, limb and liberty not just of our members but anybody that opposes or criticizes the anti-people policies of the government.”
For his part, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite also condemned as a threat the surveillance by the military on Bayan Muna Chair Neri Colmenares.
During a television interview, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. disclosed that Colmenares, also a former Bayan Muna congressman, is under surveillance because of his alleged anti-government activities.
“Is it a crime to criticize and expose the many issues hounding this administration, from its servility to China, corruption and rampant human rights violations?”, Gaite asked.
Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said the “continuing attacks and vilification on Bayan Muna by the likes of Goebbels-wannabe Parlade and his minions only prove the effectivity of its work of giving voice and in advancing the interests of the marginalized sectors.”