President Rodrigo Duterte wants the police and military to “keep quiet” while doing their job after a general cautioned some female celebrities about their alleged association with some left-leaning organizations, Malacañang said Monday.
Duterte “has spoken through [Defense] Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when he warned police and military authorities to be very careful in red-tagging,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Lorenzana earlier told government troops to “proceed with surveillance” on suspected communists and file charges if they found evidence, Roque told reporters.
“Secretary Lorenzana’s suggestion is, there is no need to publicize who the suspected communists are... That is the policy that Secretary Lorenzana said,” he added.
This developed as the Supreme Court has been prodded to issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin the government from implementing the controversial Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which critics sought to be declared unconstitutional, after the Anti-Terrorism Council approved its implementing rules and regulations.
In a motion filed on Monday, petitioner Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and its groups urged the SC justices to issue a TRO against the enforcement of the anti-terrorism law because of “a grave and immediate threat” to them following the adoption of the IRR.
In the House of Representatives, the six-member Makabayan Bloc assailed the alleged “continued red tagging and surveillance” not just of its chairman, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, but the whole bloc as well.
In a statement, the progressive lawmakers said: “This intensified attack against the whole Makabayan Bloc is similar to the time of former President Gloria Arroyo when the AFP and the PNP filed trumped up charges against the Batasan 6, the case was eventually dismissed by the court.”
“They again tried to do this with the Makabayan 4 in 2018, but the court again junked the trumped-up charges. It must be noted that the generals behind those fake charges during Arroyo’s time are almost the same ones behind these recent attacks,” the bloc said in a statement.
“When they saw that their made up cases, lying witnesses and traveling skeletons would not hold water, they pushed for the terror law, that they are now salivating to use against the opposition and critics of the anti-people policies of the Duterte administration,” they added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has junked the kidnapping and other charges filed against former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago and several others, in connection with the case filed by the parents of “missing student activist” Alicia Jasper Lucena.
In an 11-page resolution dated October 15, the DOJ prosecutors dismissed the complaint for lack of probable cause.
Aside from kidnapping, Colmenares, Elago and Anakbayan president Vencer Crisostomo, secretary general Einstein Recedes, and Anakbayan members Charie del Rosario, Bianca Marie Gacos, Jay Roven Balais, Al Omaga, Shittie Sharine Amerol and Alex Danday were also sued for violation of anti-trafficking laws and protection of children for allegedly abducting students they recruited into their groups such as Lucena.
The public prosecutors also dismissed the case against the respondents for violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, And Other Crimes Against Humanity.
The resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Xerxes Garcia and Noel Antay Jr. and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
“At this stage, in light of the issuance of the IRR, the dangers brought by the enforcement of Republic Act 11479 could no longer be ignored. It constitutes a grave and immediate threat which the petitioners implore the Court to address by way of resolution of their pending applications for provisional injunctive relief,” the motion stated.
The IRR was issued October 14 by the ATC, the body tasked to implement RA 11479, which took effect on July 18 after it was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 3.
The petitioners lamented the IRR neither corrected the unconstitutional provisions of the anti-terrorism law nor address the concerns of the petitioners.
“The IRR reproduced the objectionable, broad and vague definition of terrorism (Rule 4.3); adopted its provisions, framework and concept; expanded, enlarged or extended its scope and application; and even added new provisions or mechanisms not present in the law itself,” the militant group said.
“A careful review of the IRR would show that it also features the same objectionable and unconstitutional aspects of the assailed law, including, but not limited to: (a) utterly vague and/or overly-broad definitions of terrorism and other terrorism-related offenses; (b) the infringement of fundamental rights; and (c) the inordinate grant of powers to the Anti-Terrorism Council, which violates the principle of separation-of-powers and usurps functions reserved exclusively for the judiciary,” it added.
Worse, they noted that the “IRR pushes way beyond the scope and parameters of R.A. 11479 by further infringing on constitutional rights, and giving greater, undue power and discretion to officials and agencies tasked to implement the same.”
The petitioners noted that the IRR enlarged the definition of terrorism by unilaterally inserting that the areas or activities that could be covered by the law would include creative, artistic, and cultural expressions.
The insertion, the petitioners said, “further poses an open threat or provides a chilling effect on freedom of expression, speech and the press.”