DOJ to discuss implementing rules of anti-terrorism law on Friday
This file photo shows Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
The STAR/Rudy Santos, File
DOJ to discuss implementing rules of anti-terrorism law on Friday
Kristine Joy Patag ( - July 23, 2020 - 5:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice officials will meet on Friday to discuss the implementing guidelines for the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

“The DOJ team will meet tomorrow to brainstorm and identify the provisions of the ATA that will need Implementing Rules and Regulations,” he said.

The DOJ chief said they will also confer with the legal team of the Office of the President and with the secretariat of the Anti-Terrorism Council as they “go along” the crafting of the IRR. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency acts as the council's secretariat.

Republic Act 11479 or the new anti-terrorism law is facing at least 16 challenges to its constitutionality at the Supreme Court.

The Malacañang said that Republic Act 11479 took effect on July 19, or 15 days from when a copy of the law was uploaded on the Official Gazette website—although some petitioners contest this and said the law became effective on July 22.

They argued that the publication on the website does not count, but the publication on at least two newspapers of general circulation—a publication on the Office Gazette print on July 6—does.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, the chief legal counsel of the government, has the same stance as some of the petitioners and said the law took effect on July 22.

In any case, Calida maintained that even while the IRR is still being crafted, “the ATA is already in force.”

Calida: New anti-terrorism law in effect without IRR

Calida said in a statement also Friday that the promulgation of an IRR is not a prerequisite for the effectivity of the law and its pendency cannot “defer the law from coming into force.”

"A law is presumed to be valid when there exists an interpretation favorable to its effectivity. Unless there are clear and unmistakable showing of the law’s constitutional and statutory infirmity, the presumption of validity subsists, and the law is binding and effective," the solicitor general said.

He also said that while operational details need to be laid down for “proper implementation of the law,” RA 11479 does not have a provision that prohibits its implementation sans an IRR.

Except for Sections 45 and 52, the rest of the law is self-executing, Calida explained.

The two provisions define the Anti-Terrorism Council, and the Management of Persons Charged under the law—which tapped the Bureaus of Jail Management and Penology, and Corrections for putting up the said system—respectively.

“To claim that the law is ineffective until implementing rules are promulgated creates an absurd situation where an agency can delay the effectivity of the law by delaying promulgation of its rules,” Calida said.

“To argue that a law is less than a law, because it is made to depend on a future event or act, is to rob Congress of its plenary power to act wisely for the public welfare,” he added.

Guevarra earlier said it would be “more prudent” to wait for the IRR. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año agreed but said that if there is a terrorist threat, then they would have to apply the law.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 14, 2020 - 2:35pm

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 

October 14, 2020 - 2:35pm

The Anti-Terrorism Council has aproved the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Anti-Terrorism Law, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirms.

The implementing guidelines were crafted by a technical working group led by the DOJ, he also says.

"We will disseminate copies to the Congress and to law enforcement agencies as required under the law, and will publish the IRR online and in a newspaper of general circulation in the next few days," he says.

August 30, 2020 - 12:47pm

Desaparecidos, an organization made up of families of victims of enforced disappearances, is worried that more may go missing under the anti-terrrorism law.

"We fear that Duterte's terror law will enable State forces to resort to extraordinary measures such as abductions and enforced disappearances like what they did to my daughter to instill fear on its critics and activists as the government spins out of control because of the pandemic and the ailing economy," Erlinda Cadapan, Desaparecidos chairperson and mother of missing University of the Philippines student Sherlyn Cadapan, says in a statement.

She says that Section 29 of the Anti-Terrorism Act allows detention without charges for up to 24 days "practically opens up the option for State forces to resort to enforce disappearance rather than complying with legal requirements to detain suspects."

August 25, 2020 - 9:30am

The Free Legal Assistance Group, which represents senators and media practitioners in a petition against the Anti-Terrorism Act, urges the Supreme Court to issue a temporart restraining order against the new law.

The group says the statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gilbert Gapay to regulate social media is "repression in broad daylight."

"At the very least, the foregoing statements of the AFP Chief of Staff confirm that the ATA is both so overbroad and vague that it is susceptible to being used for an unconstitutional end, that is a weapon against free speech and dissent," the motion read.

August 24, 2020 - 12:57pm

Solicitor General Jose Calida asks the Supreme Court to cancel the oral arguments on the petitions against the anti-terrorism law.

Calida cites logistical restrictions and health threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that oral arguments would entail the presence of members of the Court, at least 300 petitioners and their counsels, 16 OSG lawyers and support staff.

"Further, the sheer number of participants will make it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain social distancing within the En Banc Session Hall. In this regard alone, even puttig the matter of the age and health vulnerabilities of some of the participants aside, it is submitted that their physical presence for in-court oral arguments is inadvisable," Calida says in his urgent motion.

August 3, 2020 - 2:47pm

It is not the intention of the anti-terror bill to regulate social media, says Rep. Ruffy Biazon (Muntinlupa), co-author of the anti-terrorism bill that is now a law, on Twitter.

Biazon is reacting to a statement from the military that what it calls a "very, very good law" that is "comprehensive" be applied to social media.

The controversial Anti-Terrorism Law is now being challenged by more than a dozen petitioners at the Supreme Court as it is seen to have vague provisions allowing abuses against rights to free speech, due process and privacy.

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