'Wala nang balakid': Anti-Terrorism Law can now be fully implemented, DOJ says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2022 04:34 PM

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MANILA - There is nothing holding back government in fully implementing the Anti-Terrorism Law after the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the controversial measure, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday. 

Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said that as a matter of rule, the High Court would no longer entertain any motions regarding the petitions against it.

"Dahil dito, tuloy-tuloy na ang implementasyon ng Anti-[Terrorism] Act of 2020. Wala nang balakid para ito ay i-implementa at gamitin ng ating law enforcement agencies para masawata itong terorismo sa ating bansa," Sugay said in a public briefing. 

(Because of this, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 can be implemented. There is nothing that can stop this from being enforced and used by law enforcement agencies to stop terrorism in the country.)

SC's ruling late last year struck down only 2 portions of the law, which questioned the definition of "terrorism" and a portion of the Anti-Terrorism Council's (ATC) responsibility.

Human rights groups and advocates have described the Anti-Terrorism Act as "draconian," fearing that this could worsen the human rights situation in the country. 

Sugay said mechanisms are in place to maintain due process. 

The law can also be questioned, he emphasized, depending on the specific provisions on how these were carried out by law enforcement authorities.

"Puwede pa rin namang tingnan kung ang pag-iimplementa ng batas na ito ay naaayon sa Constitution. Maaari siyang kuwestiyonin pero base na 'yan sa specific criminal act in which a person is being charged," he explained.

(We can still look into how the law is being implemented, and whether the execution is in line with the Constitution. It can still be questioned but only in the basis of the specific criminal act in which a person is being charged.) 

The ATC recently designated 16 alleged underground organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). It earlier tagged the CPP-NPA as organizations and 19 of its alleged member organizations as terrorists.