HomeNews AlertFaith-based humanitarian groups challenge Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Law

Faith-based humanitarian groups challenge Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Law

The petitioners seek the court’s decision on “whether or not the [new law] should be declared null and void" for the vagueness of terms

Faith-based humanitarian organizations in the Philippines filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the country’s Anti-Terrorism Law before the Supreme Court on September 21.

The petitioners aimed to seek the court’s decision on “whether or not the [new law] should be declared null and void for the vagueness of the term terrorism.”

The Anti-Terrorism Law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July, is so far the most challenged legislation in the country.

The petition filed by the humanitarian groups was the 36th to challenge the new law.

Among the petitioners were the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (Caritas Philippines), the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc., the Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines, and Caucus of Development NGO Networks.

Father Tony Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said some church people “are being branded” as terrorists or supporters of armed groups because of their involvement in humanitarian and development works.

“Not only in conflict-ridden areas but even in cities… many of our staff are afraid of such vilification but we continue working,” the priest said.

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The filing of the petition coincided with the observance of the International Day of Peace and the commemoration of the anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country in the 1970s.

The Supreme Court earlier announced that it would conduct “oral arguments on the petitions” in the third week of September “at the earliest” and will issue notices once the date is finalized.

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