The relentless yet unfounded red-tagging of cause-oriented legislators and progressive celebrities is another major reason for the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the implementation of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).
The enactment and effectivity of the ATA have emboldened military officials like Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), to label activist lawmakers of the Makabayan Bloc as "terrorists" for allegedly being card-bearing members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Granting that the six Makabayan Representatives are affiliated with CPP, Parlade forgets that membership in the CPP is legal after the Anti-Subversion Law was repealed in 1992 or 28 years ago.
Parlade has even justified the surveillance of targeted legislators under the new anti-terrorism law.
Almost all of the 37 petitions challenging the constitutionality of ATA pray for the immediate issuance of a TRO.
The persecution and execution of human rights advocates and defenders will intensify if the implementation of the constitutionally infirm law is not restrained pending final adjudication of the 37 petitions.
Among the latest victims of extrajudicial killings are human rights activists Zara Alvarez and Randall Echanis.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN