Anti-terror law takes effect today

Maris Federez   •   July 18, 2020   •   474

MANILA, Philippines – Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 takes effect today, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday (July 17), even in the absence of implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Guevarra said the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) becomes effective 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette and national newspapers on July 3.

Read: Duterte signs Anti-Terrorism bill into law

“The effectivity clause of the Anti-Terrorism Act states that the Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the official gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation. Considering that the law was published on July 3, it will take effect on July 18, which is the 15th day,” Guevarra told reporters on Friday as he rectified an earlier statement that the law would take effect on Sunday (July 19).

When asked why the law will take effect sans the IRR, Guevarra said, “the promulgation of the IRR is not a condition for the effectivity of the law.”

He added that some provisions of the ATA are self-executing such as the organization of the Anti-Terrorism Council.

The IRR will be drafted in consultation with law enforcement agencies and the military, and will be ready within 90 days, he said.

“But there are provisions where operational details need to be spelled out or standards clearly defined in the IRR for proper implementation of the law,” Guevarra also pointed out.

The DOJ chief stressed that “it will be more prudent for law enforcement agents to await the promulgation of the IRR.”

Once the draft has been approved, the secretary said “the IRR will likewise have to be published when it is done.”

“The DOJ and the Anti-Terrorism Council, in consultation with law enforcement agencies and military institutions, will promulgate the IRR for the implementation of the anti-terrorism law,” Guevarra said.

Various groups have filed several petitions before the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act, seeking for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on its implementation pending a resolution of questions regarding its constitutionality.

Read: More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Read: Palace on petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Law: Leave it to Supreme Court

Among the groups who filed the petition before the High Court were that of lawyer Howard Calleja, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, law dean Mel Sta. Maria, and the Makabayan bloc led by Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate. — /mbmf

Morales, Carpio, UP law profs file petition vs anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and law professors at the University of the Philippines on Wednesday filed a petition before the high court against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

In their 86-page plea, Carpio, Morales and several lawyers urged the Supreme Court to declare the entire law unconstitutional and to stop its implementation.

Carpio and Morales were joined by UP Law professors Dante Gatmaytan, Jay Batongbacal, Theodore Te, Victoria Loanzon and Anthony Charlemagne Yu, former Magdalo Party-list Representative Francisco Ashley Acedillo and student leader Tierone James Santos.

The petitioners questioned the vague and broad provisions of the law that may lead to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement and malicious prosecution of innocent people.

The group also blasted the powers granted to the Anti-Terrorism Council that, they say, are greater than those given to the president in times of invasion and rebellion, including the power to authorize the arrest and detention of suspected terrorists for up to 24 days without court intervention.

This is the 11th petition to be filed against the anti-terrorism law. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Several senators laud signing of Anti-Terror Act despite oppositions

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators have lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 despite oppositions coming from different sectors.

“Much credit goes to PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). With all the pressure coming from different directions against the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, at the end of the day, it is his strong political will that mattered the most,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a statement Friday.

“I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the president,” he added.

Lacson, one of the principal authors and sponsor of the measure in the Senate, vowed that he would “exert extra effort in guarding against possible abuse in its implementation, notwithstanding all the safeguards incorporated in this landmark legislation.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also expressed elation over the enactment of the controversial bill.

“I am glad that the president has sifted through the rubble and saw the importance of the law!” he said in a message to reporters.

Senator Francis Tolentino also called the signing of the law as “very timely” and “historic” as the nation needed the measure.

“It just goes to show that a stable peace and order climate should go hand [in hand] with economic rejuvenation post COVID-19,” he added.

The new law repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 and penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure allows suspected terrorists to be detained for up to 24 days without warrant. It also authorizes the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets and accounts of individuals or groups tagged as terrorists.

Before it was enacted, the bill was met with widespread opposition from different groups who raised concern over its provisions that could be abused by authorities, stifle dissent and spur human rights violations.

But Sotto said the law has enough safeguards to prevent enforcers from abusing their authority.

“It’s full of safeguards but strong against terrorists. Unlike the old law, it was subject to abuse by the terrorists,” Sotto said.

Lacson has repeatedly defended the measure, saying it has enough protection to ensure the rights of those detained.

Duterte signs Anti-Terrorism bill into law

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the proposed Anti-Terrorism bill, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the president signed the measure on Friday, July 3.

The Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 and penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

Under the measure, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also seeks to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

The measure was signed into law despite intense opposition from several sectors questioning its provisions, particularly the period of detention for suspected terrorists without judicial warrant, saying this may be abused by the authorities.

Roque said the piece of legislation underwent thorough study before it was enacted by the president.

“As we have said, the President, together with his legal team, took time to study this piece of legislation weighing the concerns of different stakeholders,” he said.

“The signing of the aforesaid law demonstrates our serious commitment to stamp out terrorism, which has long plagued the country and has caused unimaginable grief and horror to many of our people,” he added.

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