The Supreme Court (SC) decision on the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) is “a victory that will ensure the Philippines has a dynamic law at par with other countries aimed at vanquishing terrorism balanced with the protection of human rights.”
This was how Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda described the High Court’s decision that upheld the constitutionality of substantially all of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 during the weekly “virtual” press briefing on Monday of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)
“The final arbiter has finally spoken. The ruling exhibits the Supreme Court at its finest. It is a victory of the Republic and the victory of the people,” Miranda said.
Miranda debunked the claims being peddled by some sectors that the ATL was declared by the SC as “unconstitutional,” pointing out that what the High Court decided to remove were just two small “collatila” or conditions.
With the ruling, she added that the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) is now fully equipped to designate groups or individuals who have links with terror groups.
“It (SC Rule) also served as a stern warning, to those who sow terror or plan to carry out terroristic acts to derail the country’s democratic form of living,” she said.
With an overwhelming majority vote of 12-3, the SC upheld the law’s validity except for a small portion of Section 4 and Section 25. All other challenged provisions of RA 11479 were declared constitutional.
For his part, Undersecretary Severo Catura, Executive Director of Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat, and NTF-ELCACspokesperson on International Affairs, Peace Process and Human Rights Concerns said that while he is also happy for the SC ruling which he called as a “law worth having”, others sectors continue to spread fake news about the ATL.
Catura explained that during the crafting of the law at the House of Representatives where 173 lawmakers participated, 25 percent of them identified themselves as representatives of peasant farmers, fisherfolk, academe, youth etc., only a ‘handful’ called for its junking but was overturned by the majority.
“This is the kind of information that people should need to understand. We have an Anti-Terrorism Law that is Human Rights-based,” Catura said.
He explained that the ATL “contained human rights provisions that are not found” in any other similar laws in or out of the country.”
According to Catura, the SC abided by the principle of ‘inclusivity’ to accept and entertain multi-sectoral voices by accommodating 37 petitions challenging the constitutionality of the ATL on the account of its provisions on human rights.
Catura said that while the SC decision was already announced, a few people against ATL continue to spread lies to the people with intention to disenfranchise the institution.
“Sinasalaula, binabalahura ng iba pati integrity ng ating Judicial System,” Catura lamented.
For Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Social Media and Sectoral Concerns, the lies being spun particularly by the Makabayan Bloc in Congress and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) that the law is still unconstitutional have been overturned by the SC ruling.
“Truth has been proven to be formidable. This is a very clear victory. A gift that for future generations, that will end the 53-year-old communist insurgency,” Badoy said.