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A number of women’s groups have bonded together and filed on Monday (Sept. 21) a petition asking the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL).

“ATL is meant to silence critiques. Silence breeds impunity. Impunity breeds violence,” said Atty. Virgie Suarez, chairperson of Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISA KA).

“Thus, we will not be silenced. We shall resist and persist,” she stressed.

Aside from KAISA KA, the petitioners also include Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Dap-Ayan Ti Babbai, KAISA KA Youth, Oryang, PKKK, Sarilaya, WPL-WOMEN, PANGISDA-Women, YouWin, Action and Solidarity for the Empowerment of Teachers, Philippine Women’s Network for Peace and Security, Citizen’s Action Against Crime, WOMANHEALTH Phils., LIKHAAN YND Women’s Committee, LAPIS.PH and NAGSSAKA.

In a statement, Suarez said the petition states that “the law is an act of State overreach at the expense of fundmental rights.”

“It has the effect of nullifying what should be protected according to our Constitution like free speech, due process, presumption of innocence, right to assembly, right against unreasonable searches and warrantless arrests, and right to bail, among others,” read the petition.

Suarez added the the petition also describes the law as being “cavalier” to the “constitutional liberties in the name of ‘security’–promoted through fear, engendered by the threat of sanctions.”

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