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Two Aetas in first new anti-terror law case

ONE of the petitioners who challenged the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2022 has informed the Supreme Court that the first case involving alleged violation of the controversial legislation was filed before a lower court against two Aetas.

In a manifestation, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan told the SC that Japer Gurong and Junior Ramos have been charged before the Olongapo City regional trial court for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act 11479. They are now both detained at the provincial jail on a non-bailable offense.

This prompted the militant group to reiterate before the high court its plea for a status quo ante order or temporary restraining order against the hugely-controversial law.

According to Bayan, the two were nabbed on accusations linking them to the communist New People’s Army. They were arrested while descending from a mountain in Sitio Lumibao, Barangay Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales where an encounter between the military and rebels had just transpired.

As of this writing, 37 petitions have been filed against the ATA before the Supreme Court. A preliminary conference was scheduled in a bid to narrow down the issues in preparation for oral argument proceedings.

President Duterte signed a stricter anti-terrorism bill, condemned by critics and rights groups as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech.