The Supreme Court is facing a tough job ahead as it started on Tuesday afternoon hearing the first of the 37 oral arguments against Republic Act (RA) 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Leading the government in defending RA 11479 is Solicitor-General Jose Calida.
The Supreme Court will hear the oral arguments from 37 petitions filed against the law, which include those who framed the 1987 Constitution, human rights advocates, lawyers groups, members of the academe, religious organizations, and individuals who have claim to be victims of red-tagging.
The the petitioners are contending the following provisions of RA 11479: Section 4 – definition of terrorism; Section 5 – threat to commit terrorism; Section 6 – planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism; Section 9 – inciting to commit terrorism; Section 10 – recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization; Section 11 – foreign terrorist; Section 12 – providing material support to terrorists; Section 25 – designation of terrorist individual, groups of persons, organizations or associations; Section 26 – proscription of terrorist organizations, associations or group of persons; and Section 27 – preliminary order of proscription; and Section 29 – detention without judicial warrant of arrest.
Section 29 of RA 11479 is perhaps the most contentious as it allows state security forces to make warrantless arrests and extend the period of detention even without the filing of appropriate charges against the person detained, which many of the petitioners said could be open to abuse.
Most of the petitions are also seeking a restraining from the Supreme Court against the RA 11479 and the drafting of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
The Supreme Court originally set the oral arguments on RA 11499 in September last year but was forced to reschedule it due to the number of petitions filed against the law.