Anti-terror bill would curb human rights, consolidate executive branchâs power â CHR
In this March 16, 2018 photo, militant group Anakpawis holds a protest in front of the Department of Justice.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File

Anti-terror bill would curb human rights, consolidate executive branch’s power — CHR

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - June 3, 2020 - 11:28am

 MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday warned against the Senate’s controversial bill seeking to bolster the country’s anti-terrorism policies.

The CHR released a statement saying the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020’s definition of terrorism “paves the road for possible abuse as it tends to blur the distinction between terroristic activities and ordinary crimes.”

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the bill could be “used to limit substantial freedoms, including expression of dissent and critical perspectives most especially by civil society and human rights groups, under a democracy.” 

De Guia also highlighted that the new bill, which would replace the Human Security Act, would allow the prolonged detention of suspects without a judicial warrant. 

"Prolonged detention under the bill—up to 14 calendar days, with the possibility of extending it to 10 more days—may result to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or torture, which does not only pertain to acts of interrogation, but also conditions experienced by the suspect,” she said. 

The bill also allows authorities to delay the delivery of those they arrest to the proper judicial authorities. This goes against the constitutional guarantee of due process. 

De Guia added that the bill broadens the power of the executive branch to a degree that threatens the check-and-balance mechanism which is meant to prevent abuse. 

On Tuesday evening, the House of Represenatives approved on second reading the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act. This was the same version that the Senate approved on third and final reading last February. 

Malacañang on Tuesday defended President Rodrigo Duterte's call to the House of Representatives to fast-track the passage of the bill. 

The Senate version approved back in February was met with criticism from local and international rights groups over provisions said to loosely define terrorism and authorize the widescale violation of human rights in the Philippines.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque claimed the country’s anti-terrorism laws were due an upgrade, calling them the “loosest in the world.” He made this claim despite saying in 2007 that the Human Security Act "would legitimize the role of the Philippine president as chief executioner.”

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 22, 2021 - 10:14am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 3 despite opposition from rights groups and civil society groups that it could be used to stifle human rights.

A petition against the law has been filed at the Supreme Court and other groups are preparing pleadings of their own.

Follow this page for updates. Photo courtesy of The STAR/Michael Varcas 

February 22, 2021 - 10:14am

The fourth day of Oral arguments on the petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Law, which was scheduled on February 23, is suspended.

The Supreme Court says the oral arguments will resume on March 2 at 2:30 p.m.

SC clerk of court Edgar Aricheta says some of the justices are on self quarantine as a precaution against COVID-19.

February 9, 2021 - 3:10pm

Solicitor General Jose Calida says Aeta farmers Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos are withdrawing their petition-in-intervention to join the legal fight against the Anti-Terrorism Act.

He says, citing affidavits from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples' and the Public Attorney's Office, that the two say they were offered P1,000 to sign the petition.

They say they did not sign the petition-in-intervention voluntarily.

February 4, 2021 - 8:52pm

Inquirer.net condemns the threat of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. to sue reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas for her report on two Aetas who sought help from the Supreme Court against the anti-terrorism law.

Parlade accused Torres-Tupas as a propagandist in a Facebook post on February 3.

"INQUIRER.net takes vigorous exception to the apparent red-tagging of our reporter and expresses alarm over Parlade’s attempt to sow fear, stifle dissent and curtail her right to make truthful and objective reports," Inquirer.net says in a statement.

January 25, 2021 - 9:01pm

Retired Supreme Court justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales urge the high court to confirm whether social media post attributed to "Antonio Parlade" is an official communication from the government. 

The petitioners ask the SC to direct the Office of the Solicitor General to write an explanation about the post advising the public to be "watchful of groups opposing the anti-terror law.

"Though some portions directly name specific persons, the Post also groups together petitioners as part of 'individuals, groups and organizations' who should be monitored for 'pposing a law that will protect citizens from terrorists,'" the petition read.

January 15, 2021 - 4:25pm

The Supreme Court resets oral arguments on anti-terrorism law petitions to February 2, after Solicitor General Jose Calida said his assistant solicitor general and some staff tested positive for COVID-19. — Philstar.com/Kristine Joy Patag

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