IBP: Do not muddle questions on legality of Anti-Terror Bill
MANILA, Philippines – Avoid muddling the questions on the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Bill by using words such as “wisdom,” “trust,” “labeling” and other motherhood statements, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), a mandatory organization of Filipino lawyers, said Tuesday.
In a statement, IBP president Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa, said the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which was already approved by Congress and transmitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature, contains provisions that are contrary to the Constitution.
One of the infirmities mentioned by the IBP is the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC). It will be chaired by the executive secretary and composed of secretaries of justice, foreign affairs, national defense, the interior, and local government and finance, and the national security adviser.
The Human Security Act of 2007 which is sought to be amended by the Anti-Terrorism Bill also has a provision on the Anti-Terrorism Council but the latest version has more power because it will have the authority to allow the “taking into custody” of a suspected terrorist.
However, Cayosa pointed out that such authority “under the 1987 Constitution is exclusively a judicial power.”
Another infirmity cited by the IBP is allowing the detention of a suspected terrorist for 14 to 24 days without judicially charging them.
He pointed out that under the 1987 Constitution, the three-day limit within which an arrested person must be judicially charged remains in effect even with the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
“We call attention to the possible unconstitutionality and avoid muddling it with issues of “wisdom,” trust, preference, labeling, and motherhood statements,” Cayosa said.
“We hope that the Office of the President will further review the Anti Terror Bill and veto the constitutionally questionable provisions as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had done in the past,” Cayosa added.
The President has three options with the transmission of the enrolled copy of the Bill: sign, veto, or let it lapse into law.
Malacañang already stated that it will review the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
“The Palace statement that the anti-terror bill will be reviewed is not a mere perfunctory statement. From my experience as a former senior deputy executive secretary, I know that all enrolled bills are carefully scrutinized with the help of the relevant executive agencies before they are submitted to the President for appropriate action. as a lawyer himself, the President has a good grasp of any legal or constitutional issues involved,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.