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Bloggers, social media influencers file 21st petition against Anti-Terrorism Law

Popular bloggers and influencers on July 29 filed their own petition before the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

In a report by ABS-CBN, about 19 online personalities—including vloggers, bloggers, writers, artists, among others—have filed the 21st petition to take down certain provisions of Republic Act 11479, citing that it is necessary to “protect internet freedom.”

Some of those who filed the petition include Mark Averilla (Macoy Dubs) and Marita Dinglasan (Aling Marie), spoken word artist and writer Juan Miguel Severo, blogger Jover Laurio (Pinoy Ako Blog), bloggers Tonyo Cruz and Mong Palatino, and mental health advocate Dr. Gia Sison.

“The Philippines, including our portion of the Internet, must be free. The Constitution and international human rights obligations must also apply to the Internet: Bill of Rights, that includes the essentials of due process,” they said in their petition.

They asked the Supreme Court to declare the following provisions as unconstitutional:

– sections 4 to 12 of the law defining terrorism and related offenses;

– sections 25 to 27, allowing the Anti-Terrorism Council to designate, and the Court of Appeals to preliminarily proscribe terrorists or terrorist groups on the basis of suspicion; and,

– section 29, allowing arrest without a warrant and detention without charge of up to 24 days.

Their petition is the first one that focuses on the impact of the new law on the internet and social media.

READ ALSO: Bayan Muna: Anti-Terror Law violates right to privacy

“We are reminded that our rights, whether offline or online, should be protected. This case of the concerned online citizens touches on the vulnerability and susceptibility of online Filipinos mostly in social media to be victims of vague and broad definitions of terrorism or acts of terror,” Rodel Taton, the lawyer of the petitioners, said in a statement.

The petitioners added that the new law creates a climate of fear, limit liberties and freedoms, as well as disrupt the Filipinos’ democratic way of life.

“It is like a sword hanging over the heads of citizens who are now mostly conducting on the Internet interactions, transactions, commerce and business, media consumption, availment of government services, and public debate on national issues,” they said, adding that mere suspicion by hypersensitive officials can jeopardize the freedom of Filipinos online.

The petitioners added that due to this law, they now face the possibility of “being tracked down, followed, or investigated, or having their messages, conversations, discussions, spoken or written words tapped, listened, intercepted and recorded through various means, including computer and network surveillance, all of which are violative of their constitutional rights to privacy, free speech, free expression and their right against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Photo credit: ABS-CBN

SEE ALSO: Duterte signs Anti-Terror Bill into law

Staff Report

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