By Rizal Obanil
The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Law School issued a statement on the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020.
In a Facebook post Friday said: “We the undersigned, register our opposition to the bill embodying the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020.”
The ADMU Law School expressed opposition to certain provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Law namely: “the unilateral power to designate any person as a terrorist in order to facilitate that person’s arrest, and to even order the warrantless arrests of persons so designated even if no charges have been filed, and to cause their detention for 14 to 24 days” and in defining terrorism in a manner that is expansive, vague, and prone to abuse, and also criminalizes new speech-based crimes such as “inciting to commit terrorism” and “proposal to commit terrorism” whose definitions are likewise unclear and sweeping.”
ADMU Law School said that the provision on warrantless arrests: “transgress upon the rights to due process and to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures protected under Article III Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution. Further, the grant of these powers to the Anti-Terrorism Council violates the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution, as it effectively allows the Anti-Terrorism Council to circumvent the issuance of warrants of arrest that are the exclusive prerogative of the Judiciary.“
The provision on the definition of terrorism for ADMU Law School on the other hand “degrade the freedom of expression protected by Article III, Section 4 of the Constitution.”
Ateneo’s Law School recognize government’s need to ensure peace and order and defeat terrorism but also believe that the country already has existing laws and policies that grant the government “extensive powers to deal with these issues.”
Thus, they called on President Rodrigo Duterte to “veto the Anti-Terrorism Law.”
It can be recalled that several other colleges and universities have already issued their own statements asking the President to veto the said law.