Fearing for the lives of those “red-tagged” by government officials including Lt. Gen. Antonio Perlade, a group of petitioners led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate has prodded the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday (Oct. 30) to halt the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 while it has yet to issue a decision on the 37 petitions opposing the law.
“Petitioners plead with the Honorable Court not to let more days pass before the provisional relief is granted them, or to wait for the deliberations are conducted or finished before the law they are assailing is reined in. Petitioners are being targeted under the patently unconstitutional Anti-Terrorism Act now, so they need injunctive relief now,” read the group’s motion.
With this, the group asked the high tribunal to immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of injunction against the law.
It said that “the implementors of the Anti-Terrorism Act have intensified the practice of tagging as ‘terrorists’ progressive individuals and organizations, including Petitioner-lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc.”
Among them, the group cited Parlade “came under fire when he tagged actress Liza Soberano after she spoke at an online discussion of militant women’s group Gabriela Youth entitled Mga Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voices on the International Day of the Girl Child.”
“Aside from tagging as ‘terrorists’ people’s organizations Gabriela and party-list Gabriela Women’s Party, Perlade also linked actress Angel Locsin and her nephew, Petitioner Neri Colmenares, to the rebel movement, adding that Locsin’s sister, Ella Colmenares, is a member of the NPA (New People’s Army). Perlade similarly threatened former Miss Universe Catriona Gray and other celebrities that they could be killed if they persist in having links with ‘CPP-NPA fronts’ as what happened to certain supposed NPA members,” it said.
“In all these malicious red-tagging statements, neither Parlade, Badoy (Presidential Communications Operations Office Loraine Badoy), nor any of the officials of the administration presented any credible evidence to back their allegations. On the other hand, Petitioners and Locsin as well as the rest of the terror-tagged party-lists, organizations, and individuals, categorically deny any links to the armed rebellion,” the group stated.
The petitioners told the SC that being labelled as ‘terrorist,’ ‘communist,’ or a ‘legal front’ for the armed rebel movement, regardless of lack of evidence, “makes one a target in a ‘strategic communication’ otherwise known as black propaganda, or is marked for surveillance, up to assassination.”
Zarate’s group said this is already proven by the recent extrajudicial killings of Anakpawis party-list chairperson Randall Echanis, Bayan Muna Iloilo coordinator Jory orquia, and human rights and community worker Zara Alvarez, all of whom have earlier been “red-tagged.”