MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, one of the proponents of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, went on the defense Thursday amid the almost daily filing of petitions challenging the legality of the contentious law.
A total of16 petitions questioning the constitutionality of the anti-terror law have been filed at the top court, according to SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka.
“Itong [corona]virus naniniwala akong mawawala tong virus eventually. Paglabas ng vaccine by October, mawawala rin to. But itong terorismo, andiyan pa rin yan at patuloy na magiging problema. Hindi lang sa ating bansa, kun'di sa buong mundo,” Gatchalian told reporters.
The Anti-Terror Law was subjected to intense discussion and deliberations while it was being crafted, the senator said, maintaining that the country needs a “strong law” to combat terrorism.
Gatchalian said those who are questioning the law are “part of the democratic process” and their views must also be respected.
The current number of petitions against the country's new anti-terror law makes it one of the most challenged measures ever enacted. due to its the vagueness of the provisions of the legislation, particularly the definition of terrorism and related offenses.
More petitions are expected in the coming days.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on July 3 despite heavy opposition over fears it could be used to silence government critics.--With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News