Thu. May 26th, 2022

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he respects the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) on Republic Act (RA) No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020, although he has yet to receive a copy of the decision.

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The Supreme Court ruled that the RA 11479 is constitutional but struck down two provisions as unconstitutional.

Año said he respects the decision of the SC but noted that “adjustments” could be made to the law.

“First of all, we respect the decision of the Supreme Court. However, the entirety of the ATA law is constitutional except for the two items as cited by the SC. The declared unconstitutional provisions are minimal and it won’t affect at all the ATA 2020,” he said.

“We’ll make appropriate adjustment but we strictly implement Anti-Terrorism Law in order to protect the people against all acts of terrorism,” he added.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it upheld the validity of RA 11479.

In a media advisory, the SC said aside from a portion of Section 4 and a portion of Section 25, all the other challenged provisions of RA 11479 are not unconstitutional.

Section 4 deals with excluding mass actions and similar exercise of civil and political rights from the definition of terrorism while Section 25 is about requests by foreign agencies or bodies to designate persons as terrorists and terrorist organizations.

“The ponencia (majority opinion) and the various opinions contain interpretations of some of the provisions declared in these cases as not unconstitutional,” the SC said.

It advised the parties and the public “to await the publication and read the decision and the separate opinions for the explanation of the votes.”

The SC voted 12-3 to declare unconstitutional the qualifier portion of Section 4 which states “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.”

This qualifier to the proviso in Section 4 “is declared as unconstitutional for being overbroad and violative of freedom of expression,” the court said.

Likewise stricken down by a vote of 9-6 was a portion of Section 25, paragraph 2 which allows “request for designations by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the ATC after determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of UNSCR No. 1373”

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