NUPL: Constitutional challenge being readied vs Anti-Terrorism Bill
MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said it would not wait for anyone to be victimized by the impending antiterrorism law and would immediately challenge it before the Supreme Court.
“We are actually feverishly preparing the petition through a composite legal team of NUPL lawyers,” NUPL president Edre Olalia said on Friday.
Earlier, he said that his group would file a case once someone is arrested under the provisions of the antiterrorism measure.
But on Friday, he said his group had reconsidered its position following retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio’s comment that once President Duterte signs the Anti-Terrorism Act, it could be challenged “on its face,” or right away.
Carpio explained that such a challenge was allowed because that law touched fundamental constitutional rights like the right against arrests without court warrants, and provides penalties for its violation.
“Based on a restudy and in view of Justice Carpio’s opinion, we can already contest it as soon as it becomes effective. This is what is called ‘facial’ attack rather than ‘as applied,’” Olalia said.
On Wednesday, a majority of 173 members of the administration-dominated House of Representatives voted to pass the antiterrorism bill. The House adopted the Senate version of the bill passed by majority of the senators in February.
Asked how they would defend a client charged with terrorism under this law, Olalia said they would defend that person just like others charged with other crimes.
“We will defend them and protect their rights according to the Constitution and existing laws, as assiduously, diligently and competently using the principles and practice of people’s lawyering as we do any other client facing charges, especially false or trumped up ones,” Olalia said.
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