Rights lawyer slams Calida’s red-tagging, calls it ‘a deadly offense’

FILE PHOTO. Progressives reiterate their demand for the scrapping of Terror Law. (Photo by Carlo Manalansan / Bulatlat)


MANILA – Human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares assailed Solicitor General Jose Calida for red tagging him and other progressive legislators during the online oral arguments on the Anti-Terror Law, April 27.

Calida mentioned Colmenares and several progressive partylists whose election paraphernalia were allegedly found in a purported “armory” of the New People’s Army in Laguna last month.

“Respondents will say that they are just stating a fact. So what’s the use, your honor, of mentioning my name? This is red-tagging,” said Colmenares.

Apart from mentioning Colmenares’ and progressive partylists’ names, Calida also said that the petitioners never spoke “against the recent atrocities committed by terrorists against our people. They have never taken a stand on these acts. And if silence is complicity, there can only be one inescapable conclusion.”

He also earlier said that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, saying that the “truth or falsity is doubtful” on the red-tagging allegations that petitioners’ brought before the high court’s attention.

Calida concluded his speech by quoting President Rodrigo Duterte, who said that there is no reason to fear the law if one is not a terrorist.

“In ordinary times, red-tagging may be considered as a libelous statement. But now, red-tagging is a deadly offense. It is a threat to life, and security. I feel that mentioning our names and other candidates are uncalled for if they want to establish the evilness of terrorism because we have no relations at all to terrorism,” Colmenares said.

Focus on ATC

During today’s oral arguments, Associate Justice Rosmari Carandang focused on the role of the Anti-Terrorism Council and how law enforcers would be able to extract one’s intent in determining violations of the terror law.

Read: The members of the Anti-Terrorism Council and their track record

She also likened the ATC’s written authority to allow longer detention for suspected terrorists to the arrest and seize order issued by President Ferdinand Marcos during the martial law years.

Assistant Solicitor General Marissa Galandines said the ATC will have no hand in ordering arrests, but only allow detention of more than three days after a valid warrantless arrest. Justice Carandang, however, said this was not the case, and advised them to include this in the memorandum that they will submit before the high court.

The session was adjourned at 5:30 p.m. Next oral argument is set on Tuesday, May 4.(https://www.bulatlat.org)

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