Days after the court victory of Aetas in Zambales over the anti-terror law, a rights group reported on Thursday, July 22, that four farmers were arrested by the military in Occidental Mindoro for alleged violation of the controversial law.
According to the Facebook post of the 76th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, it arrested on July 19, Miguel Manguera, Fe Mariñas, Allen Mariñas, and Sherlito Casidsid for allegedly helping the members of the New People’s Army. The four farmers were arrested in Sitio Buscad, Barangay Tuban in Sablayan town.
In a Facebook post, rights group Karapatan Timog Katagalugan said the arrested farmers were innocent. The rights group added that the arrest was the first anti-terror law case filed in Southern Luzon.
Manguera and Fe Mariñas were facing complaints of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and the anti-terror law, after the authorities allegedly recovered a shotgun and an anti-personnel mine in their house.
Meanwhile, Casidsid and Allen Mariñas were arrested for obstruction of justice and anti-terror law, according to the military. The cases were filed at the San Jose, Occidental Mindoro Regional Trial Court (RTC) with criminal case numbers R-6545 and R-10960 on July 7.
On July 21, the Olongapo RTC junked the first known anti-terror law case against Aetas Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos and said that it was a case of mistaken identities.
The Supreme Court, which facilitated all 37 petitions against the anti-terror law, said it has yet to release its decision on the constitutionality of the said contested law. Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the SC hopes to release a resolution within the year.
Meanwhile, the petitioners against the controversial law urged the Supreme Court to speed up its decision “before tragic consequences befall them.” – With reports from Lian Buan/ Rappler.com