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Indigenous people’s group question Anti-Terror Law before SC

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A group of indigenous people lead by Muslim activist Samira Gutoc have also filed on Friday (Aug. 7) a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) which has been asked to declared “null and void” Rapublic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, for being unconstitutional.

“In brief, there is in fact no instance that RA 11479 could be considered lawful,” read their petition.

“By virtue of merely its implementation, even without any person being charged with the crimes punished therein, rights are effectively curtailed,” they added.

The petitioners pointed out that counter-terrorism measures “should effectively combat and prevent terrorism and not ignite fear among the people as regards the free exercise of their rights.”

Among the arguments they raised, they reminded that the Constitution declares it to be State policy to recognize and promote the “rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.”

“Marginalized sectors such as indigenous and Moro peoples, whose participation in democratic processes ought to be secure when they defend their land and rights or manifest their dissent to policies that further marginalize them, are often met with militarization and violations,” they pointed out.

“The labels ‘terrorist’ and ‘insurgents’ have become the catch-all pretext to legitimize attacks on them,” they lamented.

The petitioners stressed “RA 11479 legitimizes the structural violence already perpetuated against them and is repugnant to constitutional values.”

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