Eduardo M. Año

DILG welcomes SC decision on Anti-Terrorism Act

December 10, 2021 Jun I. Legaspi 281 views

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court declaring most of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 11479, otherwise known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA), constitutional despite the 37 petitions against it.

“While we await the release of the full decision, we welcome, respect, and acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) that only 2 provisions of the entire law were struck down. With only two minimal provisions being declared unconstitutional, it shows that the law itself as a whole is legal and constitutional,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

He said that the provisions declared unconstitutional were only “minimal” and would not affect the overall implementation of the law.

“Rest assured, we will be making the appropriate adjustments to conform to the decision of the Court and continue to implement the ATA law strictly as a means of protecting the Filipino people against any and all acts of terrorism,” he added.

Año said the SC decision is a clear and convincing victory for all law-abiding and responsible citizens of the country.

The SC’s Public Information Office yesterday released a media advisory regarding the 37 petitions challenging the ATA, particularly on deliberations during the court’s en banc session held on December 7, 2021.

According to the advisory, the qualifier to the proviso in Section 4 of RA 11479 that says “…which 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” was declared as unconstitutional by a vote of 12-3 for being overbroad and violative of freedom of expression.

In addition, the second method for designation found in Section 25, paragraph 2 of the law that says, “Request for designations by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the ATC (Anti-Terrorism Council) after determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of UNSCR (United Nations Security Council Resolution) No. 1373,” was declared unconstitutional by a vote of 9-6.

Meanwhile, all the other challenged provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Law were found constitutional by the court.

“The High Court has left the law essentially intact specially the provisions that would allow the state to run after the perpetrators of terrorism in all its forms in our country. The Court’s decision upholds our most cherished freedoms and due process, while keeping the public safe and secure from the scourge of terrorism,” said DILG Undersecretary and NTF ELCAC Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

Malaya said the SC decision vindicates the position of government.

“We have repeatedly said that nowhere in the law does it give the State the license to suppress dissent and trample on our fundamental rights. This decision of the Supreme Court proves that point very clearly,” he said.

He added that the implementing agencies will make the necessary adjustments in the implementation of the law as per decision of the SC.