MANILA – Bayan Muna president Neri Colmenares said on Monday that putting him under surveillance without a court order is harassment, as he challenged the government to file a lawsuit against him if there was evidence that he is a communist rebel .
Lieutenant-General Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesman for the National Government Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said earlier that Colmenares, a former representative of the party’s list group in Congress, was being monitored.
Under the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act, the surveillance of anyone the government wants to ban must have confirmation from a special division of the Court of Appeals, Colmenares said.
“Wala pa namang (there is) no special division of the Court of Appeals. Where did they ask the court’s order to conduct surveillance against people who wish to outlaw?” told the ANC Headstart.
“They are in government, they have all the means and resources, and everyone is intimidated by them. Why didn’t they sue me, for example?” he said.
Colmenares recalled that in the same interview that Parlade revealed to be under surveillance, the military also said that the government is still consolidating evidence against him.
“He admitted that there is still no evidence. So please stop, as his Secretary of National Defense said – kung wala kang ebidensya, tama ka na muna dyan,” he said.
“You tell people, ‘You are under surveillance’. Isn’t that harassment? … why say that? But he said that. I think the intention is also to threaten me “, he added.
The former lawmaker admitted that he is “afraid” of extrajudicial executions, so much so that he drives on the inner lanes to prevent motorcycles from passing him.
“But what we are doing is what we believe is our role in Congress or outside Congress. We would just like to discuss the merits, that is what we are asking the military,” he said.
Colmenares said he is a leftist, but that is not a crime.
TO FILE CASES AFTER DUTERTE REGIME
Colmenares, a human rights lawyer, said he plans to open a case, but is “seriously considering how to present it, where to present it” because he believes that “under President Duterte, everyone is intimidated”.
“We can file it now or in 2022. Anyway, President Duterte won’t be there, just 18 months to go. The moment President Duterte’s term ends, there will definitely be lawsuits against them because of what they did not just for me, but other people like the celebrities he scored, “he said.
But he noted that the Parlade’s admission that it is under surveillance, but without confirmation from the court, could be a point to be raised before the Supreme Court, where the Anti-Terrorism Act is being challenged.
“As of the admission of the General Parlade itself, there is no court order here … One of the things we will raise before the Supreme Court is that the supposed safeguards are not really in place because the military has admitted to have breached, surveillance without a court order,” he said.
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