Officials of Sangguniang Kabataan from various parts of the country on Wednesday filed the 29th petition asking the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
In a 105-page petition, the SK officials led by Lemuel Cayabyab, SK chairman of Barangay Maglaking, San Carlos City, Pangasinan also sought the immediate issuance of temporary restraining order the enjoin the implementation of the anti-terrorism law.
The petitioners argued that RA 11479 is unconstitutional for being contrary to the pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“With every unjust law enacted and upheld, the country inches farther from democracy. With RA 11479, it would be taking a huge step in the wrong direction; even a leap straight into the bowels of tyranny. For when we, as a nation, accept the idea that all means—moral or immoral, constitutional and unconstitutional— are acceptable if only to defeat a fearful enemy, there would be little left to distinguish us from the very evil we feared,” the petitioners argued.
“Worst, the moment our democratic and republican values are cast aside and discarded— when we are willing to sacrifice the liberty of one person, all in the name of survival— at that very moment, it could no longer be said that we are deserving of the precious freedoms we have been gifted,” they said.
In particular, the petitioners interposed objection to the vague definitions of “terrorism” and other related offenses violate the right to due process; sections 4,9, and 10 are overly broad and infringe on freedom of speech and expression, and the right of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association; section 29 violates the right to due process, right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to be assumed innocent, and the principle of separation of powers; the designation and proscription of groups as terrorists under sections 25, 26 and 27 without prior notice and an opportunity to be heard, violate the right to due process; section 34 violates the right to travel, the right to due process, and the right to bail; sections 35 and 36 violate the right to privacy, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to due process.
Aside from President Duterte, the petitioners included in its list of respondents Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who is also the chairperson of the Anti-Terrorism Council, along with selected ATC members; Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Department of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, and Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.