Filing petitions vs anti-terror law before SC? Sotto says ‘be my guest!’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday expressed confidence that the Supreme Court (SC) will not be intimidated by the number of petitions against the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“I do not think SC justices can be [intimidated] by anyone or the number of petitions. [It’s] about content! So you are filing? Be my guest!,” Sotto, one of the principal authors of the measure in the Senate, wrote on Twitter.
Sotto added that said most of the critics have misinterpreted the law.
“The points vs the [anti-terrorism law] are not correct,” he told INQUIRER.net in message when asked to elaborate.
“The SC is not known to entertain cases for declaratory relief unless there is [an] actual case of a person affected by the law,” he added, saying that the law is “flooded with safeguards.”
“[W]hen I said be my guest. It’s to indicate [that] democracy is at work,” he said in a separate message.
I do not think SC justices can be intimated by anyone or the number of petitions. Its about content! So you are filing? Be my guest!
— Tito Sotto (@sotto_tito) July 6, 2020
A day after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the controversial measure into law, a group of lawyers and advocates were the first to file a petition before the SC questioning its constitutionality.
Their petition stated that the “effectivity and implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act will materially and substantially prejudice basic constitutional rights and may result [in] the permanent contradiction of civil and political liberties.”
The newly-signed law repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) and punishes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; including those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
Before it was enacted into law, the measure had been met with widespread opposition from various groups, which raised fears that the measure could spur human rights violations and suppress dissent.
Its authors in Congress, particularly Sotto and Senator Panfilo Lacson, have repeatedly defended the proposed law, saying the measure contained enough safeguards against abuse.
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