Militant groups staged protest actions near the Supreme Court where the oral arguments on the 37 petitions filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) were being held on Tuesday.
The protesters brought placards and banners bearing their calls for the junking of the ATA. They also called for an end to extrajudicial killings, the release of all political prisoners, and President Duterte’s ouster.
In separate statements, the groups urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Anti-Terrorism Law as “unconstitutional.”
“We strongly urge every freedom-loving Filipino to rise up, speak up, and call to junk the ‘terror’ law. This is a serious threat to our basic freedoms of liberty, safety, and opinion. This is an instrument of a despotic regime against activists, critics, and opposition that is averse to human rights and democratic rights,” former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao said in a statement.
“The law empowers the Anti-Terrorism Council, all composed of officials under the president and also composed of the counter-insurgency task force, to judge groups or persons as ‘terrorists’ and could immediately mobilize the Anti-Money Laundering Council, without any venue to be challenged or appeal. This is no different from the authoritarian or fascist regimes like the Nazi persecuted progressives prior to World War II and the Marcos dictatorship against activists and human rights defenders,” he added.
The Anti-Terrorism Act is one of the most challenged laws before the Supreme Court.