Antiterror law takes effect today without IRR
The controversial Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, takes effect on Saturday although its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have yet to be crafted.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said the Department of Justice (DOJ) had started drafting the IRR which they must finish in 90 days.
The DOJ and the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), in consultation with law enforcement agencies and the military, would promulgate the rules, he said.
Responding to an inquiry, Guevarra told reporters in a Viber message exchange that it would be “more prudent” for law enforcement agents to wait for the promulgation of the IRR.
He pointed out, however, that the law could take effect even without the IRR because having the implementation rules was not a condition for its enforcement.
“Some provisions are self-executing, like the organization of the ATC. But there are provisions where operational details need to be spelled out or standards clearly defined in the IRR for a proper implementation of the law,” Guevarra said.
Any question on the application of the law’s provisions prior to the enactment of the IRR may be challenged in court, he added.
Guevarra clarified that in principle, protest actions are not covered by the definition of terrorism under Section 4 of the law, as long as they are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety.
“As it is, this provision is one that the IRR may have to delve into more deeply,” he said.
The justice chief said that planned protest actions in Metro Manila should “necessarily comply with local ordinances and existing health protocols, considering that the National Capital Region is still under general community quarantine.”
The antiterrorism law has been challenged in eight lawsuits filed in the Supreme Court seeking to declare it in its entirety or some of its provisions as unconstitutional.
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