Farmers to SC: Declare Anti-Terror Law unconstitutional

The Kilusang Magbububukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today expressed full support to the 37 petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) that questions the constitutionality and seeks for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for the implementation of the unpopular Anti-Terrorism Law or RA 11479.

Farmers also joined the protest outside the Supreme Court building in Manila coinciding with the start of the oral arguments on the Draconian measure. Broad sectors are seeking to nullify and declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Law.

“Farmers and activists advancing social justice issues will be among the first casualties of the Anti-Terrorism Act,” KMP’s Danilo Ramos said as he cited the controversial case of Aeta farmers Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos who were charged with terrorism last September 14 before an Olongapo City court in Zambales. Gurung and Ramos are resisting the militarization in their community in Brgy. Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales. They wer accused of firing at members of the 73rd Infantry Division on August 21, 2020, resulting in the death of Sergeant Rudil Dilao.

Gurung and Ramos remain in detention and were falsely charged under Section 4 (a) of Republic Act No. 11479 which punishes a person who “engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life.” The two were also charged separately with non-bailabe cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The evidences against them were planted.

Since last year, various sectors, cause-oriented groups and legal luminaries filed petitions against this Draconian law that was unabashedly passed and signed by the Duterte administration at a crucial period while the country was reeling from the serious socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

KMP was among the petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Law in a petition filed by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Movement Against Tyranny.

“The petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act are concrete proof of the extreme unpopularity and unconstitutionality of the law that was railroaded and rammed into our throats by Duterte and his militarist cabal. Even the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Act is equally worse, if not more ominous than the actual measure.

Some of the most contentious provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act include the following: the authorization of arbitrary detention without charges for an unreasonable length of time in violation of an individual’s fundamental rights, granting state forces the right to determine what is terrorism, allowing of arrests without judicial warrants and detention without filing of charges in court for 14 days extendible to 24 days, surveillance including wiretapping, and mamy more perilous provisions that will undermine people’s civil and democratic rights.

“This ‘monstrous law’ as described by many will be met with strong opposition from all sectors and institutions – legal, academe, Church, socio-civic and even in the international legal and civic sphere,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

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