Lawyer clarifies terror law cannot be implemented yet | Inquirer News

Lawyer clarifies terror law cannot be implemented yet

/ 09:02 PM July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer has insisted that the Anti-Terrorism Law, while it has taken effect already, cannot be implemented yet because its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) have not yet taken effect.

According to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, effective laws does not automatically translate to implementation, as the government must first craft the IRR based on Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

“An effective law does not necessarily mean an implementable law, especially when the procedure for the law’s implementation has yet to exist,” Macalintal said in his legal opinion sent to reporters on Monday.


“Thus, its Section 54 clearly mandates that ‘the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) and the Department of Justice, with the active participation of the police and military institution, shall promulgate the rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act within ninety (90) days after its effectivity’,” he added.


Macalintal said that the controversial law, criticized by the opposition and rights groups for tipping power over to the executive branch, has a lot of vague provisions that must be quantified first.

The veteran lawyer mentioned that certain crimes were not specifically laid out — which sparked queries from personalities including Vice President Leni Robredo and United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, as they separately stated that the law blurs lines between criticism and terrorism.

“The ATL, for instance, speaks of ‘crime against the Filipino people, a crime against humanity, and crimes against the law of nations.’  But when is a crime considered as a crime against the people, humanity and/or the law of nations?” Macalintal asked.

“All these have to be specifically defined under the IRR before the law could be fully implemented,” he noted.

The Department of Justice, however, announced last Friday that the

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the said bill into law last July 3, despite heavy opposition from people clamoring for the government to prioritize its COVID-19 response rather than other matters.


While critics have slammed the administration for this move, several supporters of the bill including Senator Panfilo Lacson assured that there are provisions safeguarding human rights, disputing UN by saying that the whole Anti-Terrorism Act was based on the UN Security Council’s recommendations.

Even before the law was made effective, people have already crafted case studies and submitted formal petitions calling on the Supreme Court (SC) to strike down the law, which they believe may be used to silence legitimate dissent.

Macalintal said the issue of the law’s implementation may be taken up at SC, too.

“Perhaps the petitioners questioning the constitutionality of the ATL could raise before the Supreme Court this issue of whether or not the ATL could be implemented without an IRR which could be another argument to convince the SC to issue that elusive Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent its enforcement pending resolution of their petitions,” he said. [ac]

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Anti-terror law takes effect midnight of July-18

TAGS: atty. romulo macalintal, criticism, effectivity, IRR, Philippine news updates, terror bill, Terror Law, Terrorism

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