Withdrawal sought for cases and laws related to terrorism and terrorist financing

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Members of organizations affiliated with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan staged a protest in front of the Department of Justice earlier today to demand the withdrawal of all terrorism and terrorist financing cases filed by the department against activists, human rights defenders, peace consultants, and officials and members of the revolutionary movement. Today, July 3, marks the fourth anniversary of the passage of the draconian Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

“The past four years have shown that the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act are only being used to vilify and criminalize activism and attack political dissent. This must be immediately stopped,” according to Raymond Palatino, Bayan secretary-general.

In a press conference by human rights groups yesterday, Karapatan revealed that the DoJ has filed “terrorism financing” cases against at least 112 people, including 59 development workers. No less than 21 non-government organizations have been charged with similar cases. Of those charged, 32 are currently detained.

“Under this law, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent,” according to Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general.

Among those charged with violating the ATA are Bayan Muna secretary-general Nathanael Santiago, former Anakpawis secretary-general Servillano Luna Jr., development worker Rosario Gonzales, church worker Anselma San Gabriel, and 29 others in a court in Nueva Ecija.

The organizations are calling for the repeal of the two laws. Among those calling for this are the Sandugo Alliance, whose six members from the Cordillera were designated as terrorists by the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) last year.

Health workers have also been victims of the ATA. In February 2022, Dr. Natividad Castro was arrested and jailed after being arbitrarily and baselessly labeled a “terrorist” by the ATC. The kidnapping and serious illegal detention case filed against her by the DoJ was dismissed on March 25, 2022 and she was released five days later. However, the court reversed the ruling and ordered her re-arrest.

AB: Withdrawal sought for cases and laws related to terrorism and terrorist financing