Mon. Jun 21st, 2021

The Supreme Court has junked the bid of two members of the Aeta tribe to intervene in the petitions filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act, but this was tainted by tribe members allegedly receiving a measly sum of P1,000.

(PHOTO: Philstar)

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta bared during Tuesday’s oral arguments on petitions challenging Republic Act (RA) No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act that, that the petition to intervene from the two Aetas was junked, as Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a bid to postpone the oral arguments by claiming that the Aetas. Calida claimed the two Aetas had executed an affidavit of desistance.

In their petition, Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos claimed they were tortured and falsely accused of terrorism, among other charges, by state security forces. The two Aeta members claimed that the definition of terrorism under RA 11479 fails to give fair notice to ordinary citizens as to what is lawful and prohibited.

But Calida said the two Aetas have executed their affidavit of desistance and informed the court that they were forced to do that in exchange for P1,000 each.

“We were given P1,000 to be divided among the two of us. We were told that we should show pity to the lawyer who had to travel from Manila to get our signatures. And we withdraw the petition for intervention,” Calida said, reading from the supposed affidavits of the two Aetas.

Peralta then informed the court that the petition to intervene filed by the two has been unanimously dismissed by the court. 

“The petition for intervention has been unanimously denied by us this morning, so is there still a need for you to read all of those documents because we have already denied the petition for intervention?” Peralta asked Calida.

The Supreme Court will be hearing a series of oral arguments against RA 11479 that signed into law at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year. SOVEREIGNPH

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