Muntinlupa City Representative Ruffy Biazon said on Sunday that he and some of his fellow congressmen will come up with recommendations in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the newly-enacted Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 in order to address the public fears stemming from to the controversial law.
“May mga kasamahan ako sa Kongreso na sinasabi nga nila na magsusumite ng recommendations sa pagbuo ng IRR, na baka naman maaari pang ma-tweak yung batas para yung mga pangamba ay mabawasan,” Biazon said, during an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
“Pinapaaral ko na sa staff kung paano kami makakapagbigay ng recommendation patungo sa IRR,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed RA 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020.
This, despite objections from various groups, including the United Nations (U.N.) human rights body and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
Following the enactment of the law, a group led by Ateneo and La Salle law professor and lecturer Howard Calleja filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the act.
Senator Francis Pangilinan also said he is preparing a petition to question the law before the high tribunal.
The Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 will take effect 15 days after its complete publication on the Official Gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation.
Biazon was a principal author of the new anti-terrorism law when it was still being deliberated in the House of Representatives.
However, Biazon withdrew authorship at the last minute and voted “no” to the measure.
“Hindi lang ako naging kuntento sa ibang probisyon na merong posibilidad ng misinterpretation. Ayokong sabihin na intensyon na mang-abuso pero meron kasing room for misinterpretation,” he said.
“Kung gagawa tayo ng batas, gusto natin sana na malinaw talaga yung pwedeng gawin, yung kailangang gawin para hindi maging subject to iba-ibang mga interpretasyon at lalong-lalo na yung iba-ibang implementasyon,” he added.
Biazon is hoping that some of the unclear provisions in the law would be clarified when it comes to the IRR, in particular, Section 25 on the designation of a “terrorist.”
“Ang intensyon at sa pagkasulat naman ay yun ang gustong palabasin, na bago ma-designate ang isang tao bilang terrorist ay may probable cause na mahanap. Probable cause na ma-determine ng ating judiciary o sa judicial process natin at hindi lang yung arbitrary na designation by the Anti-Terrorism Council,” he pointed out.
“Isa yun sa pwede pang ma-cure pagdating doon sa IRR. Restating na ang determination ng probable cause ay by the prosecutors or by the judges. Para lang malinaw, isa yun sa mga pangamba na maaaring ma-cure,” he added.
Biazon said he does not think the moves to challenge the law before the Supreme Court will not hamper the government’s campaign against terrorism.
“Kung mag-issue ng injunction ang Supreme Court, mapipigilan ang paggamit ng batas. Kaya kinakailangan nating ma-resolve siya agad kapag dinala sa Korte Suprema yan. Pero ang law enforcement, patuloy naman siya na pwedeng mag-operate,” he said.
“Baka lang may konting hindrance o konting gaps sa pwede nilang gamitin sa ilalim ng batas partikular sa paghahabol sa mga terorista na nagtatangkang gumawa ng karahasan,” Biazon said.
Opposition lawmakers and an influential business group added their dissenting voices to the Anti-Terror Law that President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Friday, July 3, and called on the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional its “repressive” provisions as the law could be prone to abuse and human rights violations.
Detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima said on Sunday, July 5, that “Republic Act No. 11479, in the hands of Mr Duterte, is just another weapon for his lawfare against lawful dissent, political rivals, and the rest of our countrymen demanding accountability for his misgovernance, injustices and treason,” De Lima said in a statement.
Citing instances where laws have been used to bully critics, journalist, and activists who speak out against the administration’s policies, De Lima said Duterte officials have established a “pattern of systematic destruction of our democracy and human rights.”
“Ang isang batas na nagbibigay sa rehimen na ito ng karagdagang kapangyarihang manmanan, bawian ng ari-arian, at ipakulong ng walang warrant ang mga kalaban ni Duterte sa pulitika at ang mga taong nagsasalita ng katotohanan ay hindi isang batas na dapat manaig sa isang demokrasya na tulad ng sa atin,” De Lima said.
(A law that gives this regime additional power to control, deprive liberty, and arrest without a warrant political opponents and those speaking the truth is not a law that should prosper in a democracy like ours.)
“The real terrorists are anti-democracy and anti-human rights at heart. And so the hand that signed this law…. With legal challenges expected to reach it, I call on our Supreme Court to protect our democracy and invalidate this legal abomination before Mr Duterte, and other tyrants that might follow him, inflict further oppression and repression upon our people,” she added./Stacy Ang