Group questions constitutionality of anti-terrorism law before SC

(Eagle News)–A group on Saturday, July 4, filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the anti-terrorism law.

The group led by lawyer Howard Calleja filed the petition for certiorari and prohibition  electronically with the Supreme Court, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law that would effectively replace the Human Security Act of 2007.

The group also urgently asked the High Court for a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction and/or other injunctive remedies.

It  said it would physically file the petition on Monday, July 6.

Apart from Calleja, the petitioners included Atty. Joseph Peter J. Calleja, University of the Philippines law professor Christopher John P. Lao, Dr. Reynaldo J. Echavez, Napoleon L. Siongco, Raeyan M. Reposar, civic groups Frontliners: Tunay na Bayani and Bagong Siklab Pilipinas, and former Education Secretary  Armin A. Luistro.

“The group advocates a just and humane law that is for the benefit of all Filipinos. While threats to our national security need to be addressed, the law, as crafted, is oppressive and inconsistent with our constitution, hence, the petition,” the group said.

“This fight against terrorism should not and should never be a threat to the fundamental freedoms of all peaceful Filipinos,” the group added.

Some sectors, including activists, had criticized the law, which they said could be used to stifle dissent.

They in particular, criticized the up to 14-day detention without a judicial warrant of arrest for suspected terrorists allowed under the law, and which could be extended for an additional ten days,.among others.

Former and current law enforcers, however, hailed the measure, saying it would give lawmen the legal protection in the fight against terrorism.