Four petitions were filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the Supreme Court on Monday (July 6).
A group led by law professor Atty. Howard Calleja and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro filed their petition to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“We are not fighting this government. We are fighting the constitutionality of this law and this law should stand not only this constitution, not only this government but should stand the governments and constitutions of our children and of our children’s children. so we are fighting not only for today but for also the future of everybody, of every Filipino,” Calleja said.
Among the provisions questioned by Calleja and Luistro are the broad and vague definition of “terrorism”, the warrantless arrest, and the 24-day detention period upon suspicion of terrorism.
“The basic safeguard of our law is and of our rights is the constitution. if you violate the constitution then there are no safeguards,” Calleja said.
“Lalong nagiging perpekto ang administrasyon kapag handa nilang pakinggan kahit yung mga batikos dahil dyan nagagawang mas mabuti. Kapag ang mga ang netizens natin ay nagtatanggal na ng mga posts nila, yan na ang epekto na ayaw natin mangyari,” said Luistro.
[The administration gets perfected when it is ready to hear out even the criticisms for they make things better. When netizens start to remove their posts, then, that will be the effect that we don’t want to happen.]
Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law, also filed a petition, stating that aside from what Calleja has pointed out, the anti-terrorism law will affect the teaching patterns in universities.
“Kaya nga ang propesor, mga teacher o mga estudyante na magmumungkahi, mag-aaral ng halimbawa ng liberation theology, halimbawa na kalakip na dun ang pag-uusap sa arms struggle, e baka sabihin nila, proposal or inciting to terrorism na yan,” Sta. Maria said.
[That’s why professors, teachers, or even students will propose or study liberation theology, for example, and part of which is a discussion on arms struggle, it might be misconstrued as a proposal or inciting to terrorism already.]
Meanwhile, both Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman and the Makabayan Bloc are requesting the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction while the court has yet to decide on the filed petitions.
“All that a devious and underhanded law enforcer or prosecutor has to do is to conveniently invoke the killer proviso to stifle political dissent and peaceable assembly for redress of grievances,” Lagman said in a statement.
Lagman said the government must ensure that the rights of the common people for free speech will not be compromised by arrests that will be made against terrorists.
“What the government must pursue is the apprehension, prosecution and conviction, once warranted, of terrorists without ensnaring into contrived culpability persons who simply exercise free speech and peaceful assembly,” the lawmaker said.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate expressed concern that the said law might be abused and target even ordinary individuals.
“This will be weaponized not only against members of the progressive organizations but even members of the political opposition, ordinary individuals, maging miyembro ng media (even members of the media),” he said.
On the other hand, Malacañang said it is leaving the decision to the Supreme Court.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated criticizing the government will never be considered a crime under the Constitution.
“Every law passed by congress enjoys the heavy presumption of constitutionality,” he said. —AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday announced it has started the inoculation of its employees who are included in the government’s A4 or fourth priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination program.
In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the vaccination was held at its Training Center in Padre Faura, Manila, in coordination with the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Health, and the city government of Manila.
“The immediate vaccination of Court employees is among the short-term plans for the Judiciary of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo,” the high court said.
The Supreme Court earlier said that more than 1,900 judiciary personnel have been infected with COVID-19; 33 of them died and 115 are active cases.
More than 30,000 judiciary personnel have been included in the A4 sector of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program. The A4 priority group includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, and local officials.
The SC PIO said that upon Gesmundo’s assumption into office, the court partnered with the Philippine National Red Cross and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS- CSB) on the use of the temporary isolation and quarantine facility for the employees of the Judiciary working in the ‘National Capital Region (NCR) Plus who are infected with COVID-19.
“Likewise, the Court has established an Emergency Care Unit (ECU) at the SC Compound in Manila which will temporarily accommodate and house the employees of the High Court and third-level courts afflicted with COVID-19 and are awaiting hospital confinement or referral to appropriate quarantine facilities,” it said.
The ECU has a total capacity of 55 beds to temporarily accommodate confirmed COVID-19 patients, either asymptomatic patients or with mild or moderate symptoms, who are awaiting transfer to quarantine facilities or hospital confinement due to room or bed unavailability, it added.
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) is eyeing to release the guidelines on the use of body cameras in police operations by July.
SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said the high tribunal will tackle the matter starting June 15.
“The proposed rule is to be taken up as soon we resume session on June 15. And our colleagues have submitted their respective inputs. Hopefully and I’m optimistic that maybe after 2 or 3 deliberations we will come up with the final version,” he said.
“Our judges know the responsibility that they have to comply with what the Constitution and the Rules of Court should provide. So, we hope that with the issuance of these rules on body-worn cameras, these issues will be addressed specifically. It’s in the works. By July perhaps, we will have the final version and we’ll approve it for implementation immediately,” he added.
The proposed body-worn cameras was recommended after reports of corruption and abuse by authorities. Based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are over 7,000 cases related to suspects getting killed during the government’s anti-drug campaign.
PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has previously ordered the use of body-cameras during operations in the NCR. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) has modified its interpretation of ‘psychological incapacity’ as a ground to nullify marriage.
“The Court in the case of Tan-Andal v. Andal, G.R. No. 196359, unanimously modified the interpretation of the requirements of psychological incapacity as a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage found in Article 36 of the Family Code,” the SC said in a statement released on Wednesday (May 12).
Under the the new Leonen ruling, it said that “psychological incapacity is not a medical but a legal concept.” Due to this, testimony of psychologist or psychiatrist is not mandatory in all cases to prove psychological incapacity.
“[Psychological incapacity] is a personal condition that prevents a spouse to comply with fundamental marital obligations only in relation to a specific partner that may exist at the time of the marriage but may have revealed through behavior subsequent to the ceremonies,” the new ruling stated. AAC
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