Labor rights groups file 7th petition assailing Anti-Terrorism Law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 10) – Two labor rights groups joined forces to file the seventh petition questioning the constitutionality of the controversial Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Pro-Labor Legal Assistance Center submitted their petition before the Supreme Court last July 8.

The two labor rights groups explained that many provisions of the controversial law can be used to curtail people’s rights and freedoms under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, including the freedom of speech and expression, right to travel, right to privacy, and right to from unions or associations.

“We filed a petition, on behalf of workers, unionists and labor rights defenders who have long been targets of the state’s repression. We have documented and sometimes even witnessed firsthand, their arrest, detention and other forms of harassment. Others have even been killed in their clamor for change,” CTUHR Executive Director Daisy Arago said in a statement.

CTUHR added a record-high 50 workers, unionists, and labor rights defenders were killed under the Duterte administration.

The labor rights advocates questioned the broad and vague definition of terrorism in the newly-signed law, which they say may lead to violating a person’s right to due process.

CTUHR also opposed Section 29 of the new law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 3, which they claim violates the rule on judicial arrests under the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

“We firmly believe that many provisions of this new law, beginning with the overly broad and vague definition of terrorism which may lead to the violation of a persons’ right to due process. The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that ‘No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,’” CTUHR emphasized in its statement.

CTUHR previously assailed the Human Security Act of 2007, the law repealed by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, but their petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Six other petitions were filed before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the controversial law, less than a week after its signing. The petitioners are Rep. Edcel Lagman, the Makabayan bloc, the group of law professor Atty. Howard Calleja, Far Eastern University Institute of Law professors led by Dean Mel Sta. Maria, former government corporate counsel Rudolf Jurado, and the group of 1987 Constitution framers Christian Monsod and Felicitas Arroyo.