Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno to question Anti-Terror law before High Court

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Human Rights lawyer Chel Diokno will question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terror law that he says goes against democracy before the Supreme Court.

Diokno also said that if the government wants to fight terrorism, formulating a new law is not the answer.

Diokno said that the country needs is an improvement in its justice system.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-government organization that that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, said the new law may worsen the human rights situation in the country.

“By signing the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law President Duterte has put the Philippines’ democracy into abyss,” HRW Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson said.

“The law threatens to significantly worsen the human rights situation in the Philippines, which has nosedived since the catastrophic ‘war on drugs’ four years ago,” he added.

Another group, the activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said that the Duterte administration just shows it is more interested in suppressing opinions that criticize the government over finding a solution to the present crisis on health and the economy.

“It shows that the regime is more interested in suppressing dissent than in solving the health economic crisis,” Bayan said.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) will not stop in its search for legal means to refute the new law.

“It ain’t over yet. We will not cease to exhaust any and all legitimate steps and platforms to challenge this draconian law,” NUPL said.

Among the provisions in the law that is being questioned is Section 29 on detention without judicial warrant of arrest in which a suspect can be arrested even without a warrant of arrest and detained for up to 24 days.

Ordinary citizens, who are just expressing their opinion online against the government, may also be affected.

The government earlier issued a statement that there are enough safety nets in place to protect human rights.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, main supporter of the bill, said even if there were many who are against the law the political will of President Duterte prevailed.

Lacson said he cannot imagine that the same law can be passed under a different administration./Stacy Ang

 

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