Jul 6, 2020 @ 12:03

Calleja, Luistro files physical copy of petition vs new Anti-Terror Act

A group of lawyers and civic leaders on Monday formally filed the physical copy of their petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Last Saturday, Ateneo and La Salle law professor and lecturer Atty. Howard “Howie” M. Calleja, former Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro of the De La Salle Brothers Inc., and several others filed the petition for certiorari via electronic filing.

They also sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the law’s implementation.

Signed by President Duterte last July 3, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 uwill take effect on July 19.

The group sought to stop “all respondents or any person, entity, member, officer, employee, representative or agent acting singly or collectively with them, from enforcing the above-mentioned sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act. ”

“The group advocates a just and humane law that is for the benefit of all Filipinos. While threats to our national security need to be addressed, the law, as crafted, is oppressive and inconsistent with our constitution, hence, the petition. This fight against Terrorism should not and should never be a threat to the fundamental freedoms of all peaceful Filipinos,” the group said in a statement.

The group expressed concern that the new legislation maybe “used by the government to weaponize itself for state-sponsored repression that makes a mockery of the rule of law.”

“Through the Anti-Terrorism Law, the President, with Congress, has paved the way for a legal framework that would allow the government to go against its own people,” the group said.

“The Anti-Terrorism Law effectively strengthened the powers of the Executive by granting powers inherent in the Judiciary, making the Executive the judge, jury, and executioner,” it added.

In particular, the group wants SC to nullify Sections 3,4,5,9,10,16,17,25,26,29, and 54 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, for being repugnant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Apart from Calleja and Luistro, UP Law Professor Christopher John P. Lao, Dr. Reynaldo J. Echavez, Napoleon L. Siongco, Raeyan M. Reposar, civic groups Frontliners: Tunay na Bayani and Bagong Siklab Pilipinas, signed the petition.

On the other hand, named respondents were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, the secretaries of defense, the interior, finance, justice, and information and communications technology, and the executive director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

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