Left Menu
Development News Edition

Philippine lawyers press Supreme Court to strike down anti-terror law

Philippine lawyer groups and a top congressman asked the Supreme Court on Monday to strike down the president's controversial new anti-terrorism law, or parts of it, calling it unconstitutional for infringing on civil liberties. Three petitions filed by minority lawmaker Edcel Lagman and two lawyer groups, also sought a temporary restraining order against use of the law, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Friday having fast-tracked it through the legislature.

Reuters | Jakarta | Updated: 06-07-2020 11:07 IST | Created: 06-07-2020 11:05 IST
Philippine lawyers press Supreme Court to strike down anti-terror law
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Philippine lawyer groups and a top congressman asked the Supreme Court on Monday to strike down the president's controversial new anti-terrorism law, or parts of it, calling it unconstitutional for infringing on civil liberties.

Three petitions filed by minority lawmaker Edcel Lagman and two lawyer groups, also sought a temporary restraining order against use of the law, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Friday having fast-tracked it through the legislature. Local and international human rights groups said that while the Philippines does have clear security threats, the legislation could be abused to target administration opponents, with a presidentially appointed anti-terrorism council able to designate who is a suspected "terrorist".

It grants security forces sweeping powers to go after targets, some without judicial approval, and allows for 90 days of surveillance and wiretaps and the arrest and detention of suspects without warrant or charge for up to 24 days. Legal experts warn its overly broad articles will allow discriminatory enforcement, privacy infringements and suppression of peaceful dissent.

"It was crafted in imprecise and vague language so much so that there is no certitude as to what acts the law actually proscribes," Lagman said in his petition. That, he said, leaves people "perplexed on what to avoid doing, even as its vagueness is conducive to conflicting interpretations and arbitrary enforcement."

But Senator Panfilo Lacson defended the bill he co-authored, telling DZBB radio: "It is a good law, swift, effective and constitutional". Critics accuse Duterte of squashing debate and rushing the bill's passage while the country was distracted by a coronavirus outbreak. He has said little publicly about it.

More court petitions were expected against what activists have condemned as a weapon to target his opponents, stifle free speech and intensify a climate of fear under Duterte. His spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday the Supreme Court's decision would be respected. (Editing by Martin Petty)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Videos

Latest News

Violet Evergarden Season 2: More on Gilbert’s reappearance, The Movie to be out in September

Since the release of Violet Evergarden Season 1 in April 2018, fans have been ardently waiting for Season 2s release. It is now one of the most anticipated Japanese light novel series, thanks to Season 1s remarkable success.Unfortunately, V...

Airline shares rise as U.S. TSA screening numbers increase

Shares in major U.S. airlines rose on Monday after the Transportation Security Administration TSA said it screened more than 800,000 people at U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday for the first time since March 17. TSA said it had screened 83...

Park in Bengaluru decides to gift lions to safari, zoo

Bengaluru, Aug 10 PTI The Bannerghatta Biological Park BBP on Monday decided to gift two lions each to the Lion and Tiger Safari in Shimoga, and a zoo in Gadag district, both over 300 kms from here. The park has sought an approval from the ...

ICC chairman election: No decision taken in board meeting as members search for unanimous candidate

The ICC Board of Directors meeting on Monday ended up being a damp squib after they failed to reach consensus over Shashank Manohars replacement as the next chairman of crickets global governing body. The sole agenda of Mondays meeting was ...

Give Feedback