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Constitution framers join call to strike down provisions of anti-terror law

/ 07:50 PM July 08, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Two of the framers of the 1987 Constitution have joined the call for the Supreme Court to strike down several provisions of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 for being unconstitutional.

Constitutional Commission (ConCom) members Christian S. Monsod and Felicitas A. Arroyo are the sixth petitioners against the highly contentious law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday. They are joined by professors from the Ateneo Law School, Ateneo Human Rights Center and Xavier University College of Law; Fr. Albert Alejo and Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa.

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In their petition, they want the high court to declare as unconstitutional 11 provisions in RA 11479, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 25, and 29. These provisions deal with the definition of terrorism, how terrorism is committed, recruitment and membership in terrorist organizations, surveillance of suspects and interception and recording of communications, and detention of suspects without judicial warrant of arrest.

“The over-broad provisions of the ATA violate petitioners’ rights to freedom of speech and expression. Under the challenged law, terrorism is committed by any act, which includes legitimate acts that are necessary for citizens to exercise their constitutionality protected rights to free speech and expression,” petitioners said.

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Unlike the first five petitioners, the sixth petition did not ask for a restraining order on the implementation of the law. Still, it urged the high court to void and issue a permanent prohibition against the 11 provisions of the law.

On Tuesday, the high court has consolidated the first four petitions filed against the Anti-Terror Act. It also ordered the Executive Department and the Legislature to respond to the petitions.

This morning, former head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel Rudolph Philip B. Jurado also filed a petition against the ATA. [ac]

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TAGS: anti-terrorism law, RA 11479, Supreme Court
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