The Supreme Court late last week ruled that just two parts of the hotly debated Anti-Terror Law were unconstitutional.
In a statement, the highest court said that one section of the proposed law was “overbroad and violative of freedom of expression.” The second part that was stricken down allows a president-appointed anti-terrorism council to tag individuals and groups as terrorist, upon the request of other entities and international organizations.
The decision was a blow to many activists who opposed the law.
“The Supreme Court missed the opportunity to defend the Filipino people’s human rights and democracy,” activist group Akbayan said. “You don’t defeat terrorism by terrorizing the people and stifling their rights. The answer to non-state terrorism is not state terrorism.”
Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the petitioners against it, said that a law allowing detention of a suspect for up to 24 days without a warrant was a “blatant violation of the constitution.”
Rights organization Karapatan, another petitioner that the entire law should have been junked due to provisions that were “only set to worsen the already dismal human rights situation.”
Despite the presence of legitimate security threats, lawyers and human rights groups fear that the law could be abused and used to target government critics and suppress peaceful dissent.
Photo: Foreign Brief