Thu. May 26th, 2022

The Supreme Court (SC) decision that Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) is constitutional, save for two provisions, was a clear and convincing victory for law-abiding and responsible citizens.

(Photo Courtesy: PNA)

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año stressed on Sunday that the ATA is the state’s main tool to run after terrorist groups.

“Rest assured, we will be making the appropriate adjustments to conform to the decision of the high court and continue to implement the ATA strictly as a means of protecting the Filipino people against any and all acts of terrorism,” he said during a radio interview.

Año also said the Office of the Solicitor General will not appeal the two discarded provisions as it is satisfied with the SC decision.

He commended Solicitor General Jose Calida for his expert handling of the case where 35 out of the 37 provisions were ruled as constitutional.

“While we await the release of the full decision, we welcome, respect, and acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court that only two 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,” Año said.

He said the two provisions were minimal and would not affect the overall implementation of the law.

According to the SC advisory on Thursday, Section 4 of the ATA 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 voted unconstitutional, 9-6.

The landmark Resolution No. 1373 was adopted by the UN Security Council on Sept. 28, 2001 in the wake of the terrorist attacks carried out in the United States on September 11.

The resolution defined a broad counter-terrorism mandate for the international community and established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor states’ implementation of its provisions.

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