More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020   •   594

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)

81,888 PDLs released during COVID-19 pandemic — SC

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has noted the use of technology, specifically video conferencing, in expediting the cases of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) even amidst the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During Friday’s (October 23) ‘CJ Meets the Press’ briefing, Peralta reported that from March to October this year, a total of 81,888 PDLs had their cases resolved and been granted freedom.

The Chief Justice added that the majority of the more than 110,000 cases that they have deliberated on virtually were criminal cases.

The proceedings yielded 88% success rate and only 12% failed due to poor or intermittent Internet connection.

According to CJ Peralta, several PDLs were granted a reduced bail, particularly the indigent ones, to qualify for release while reading of sentence to minors was temporarily suspended.

“Napag-aralan namin na kakaunti lang makapag apply ng bail dahil karamihan dito ay mga indigent,” Peralta explained.

The decision to expedite the release of PDLs was to decongest jail facilities across the country where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high.

Because at that time we felt na yung COVID-19 ay nag-i-spread na sa mga jails, not only in BJMP jails but also in provincial jails, municipal jails and detention centers ng ating mga pulis,” the official noted.

Of more than 28,000 employees of the Judiciary, 252 contracted COVID-19 which is only 1% of the government branch’s total employee population.

Meanwhile, Peralta said the Supreme Court is now looking into the delays in the processing of cases of more than 1,700 detained quarantine violators.

The Chief Justice stressed these violators shouldn’t stay long in detention as they can be released by just paying a penalty or fine. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta wants probe on ambush of CamSur Judge

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has called on law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate and arrest those behind the attack on a Camarines Sur Regional Trial Court judge and her aide that left them injured.

“I strongly condemn the recent attack on Judge Jeaneth Gaminde-San Joaquin of Libmanan, Camarines Sur and her companion. I urge all law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are apprehended,” Peralta said in a statement posted on Twitter.  

“An attack on our judges is an assault on the Rule of Law. This has no place in a civilized society like ours,” he stressed.

An initial police report showed that Camarines Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 26 Judge San Joaquin and a member of her staff, Rocelle Martinez were aboard their vehicle going to Naga City when they were attack by two unidentified gunmen.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 20 in Barangay Puro Batia in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

The two sustained injuries and were taken to a hospital for medical treatment.

ATC approves IRR for Anti-Terrorism Law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2020

The Anti-Terrorism Council has approved the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra said they will provide Congress and law enforcement agencies copies of the IRR. They will also release a copy online and in other publications.

“We will disseminate copies to Congress and to law enforcement agencies as required under the law, and will publish the IRR online and in a newspaper of general circulation in the next few days,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law last July 3 which repeals the Human Security Act of 2007.

The DOJ started drafting the IRR of the law last August.

Meanwhile, there are currently 30 petitions filed before the Supreme Court requesting to halt the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law questioning its constitutionality.

The Office of the Solicitor General, however, has already asked the high tribunal to dismiss the petitions. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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