MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday asked the executive department to comment on the petitions questioning the legality of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“The Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of the four petitions, and required the respondents to file their respective comments on the petition and application for TRO (temporary restraining order) within a period of 10 calendar days from notice,” SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka told reporters at the end of the high court’s en banc session.
No TRO sought by the petitioners was handed down by the court in the meantime.
The suits were originally filed on Monday separately by lawyer Howard M. Calleja, Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, lawyer Melencio Sta. Maria and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate.
Among other things, the petitioners assailed issues on powers of the Anti-Terrorism Council, provisions on the forms of speech and expression, surveillance, and detention.
The petitions also questioned the definition of the crime of terrorism under the law claiming it as vague and ambiguous, the maximum of 24 days of prolonged detention of a suspect without a judicial warrant or without charging him, the maximum of 90 days technical surveillance and wiretapping of communications, the maximum of six months investigation of a suspect’s bank accounts and the freezing of assets and the authority to designate a person or association as a terrorist without judicial intervention.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure into law on July 3 which repeals Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. (PNA)