Petitions vs Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 mounting

Petitions vs Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 mounting

MANILA, Philippines — More petitions are being lodged before the Supreme Court against Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).

On Thursday, the legal action of the Federation of Free Workers members added to the string of previously filed cases against the new law.

Joining them are members of the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, Church Labor Conference, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Uni Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council, and the Kilusang Artikulo Trese.

In their petition, they questioned the constitutionality of the ATA saying it “will have a destructive chilling effect” on the workers’ right to organize and conduct activities to petition the government to address their grievances.

They asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the law through a temporary restraining order. The anti-terror law is set to take effect on July 19.

Similar to the petitions filed before this, pro-workers groups challenged the legality of the new law’s provisions such as:

Section 4 – definition of Terrorism;
Section 5 – threat to commit terrorism;
Section 6 – planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism;
Section 9 – inciting to commit terrorism;
Section 10 – recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization;
Section 11 – foreign terrorist;
Section 12 – providing material support to terrorists.

For them, “the vague and overly broad provisions of law particularly those which are penal in nature such as RA 11479 is a deprivation of the people’s right to due process.”

“While petitioners recognize the efforts of those who sincerely keep our people safe; we strongly oppose the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020…in its present form which runs contrary or repugnant to the Constitution,” they said.

Petitioners are also concerned about the “unrestrained power given to the Executive department” which could become an instrument to terrorize the ordinary citizens.

The high court is expected to consolidate this petition to the first eight petitions filed against the anti-terror law.