Robredo seeks safeguards in anti-terror law

Now that the anti-terrorism bill has been  enacted into law, Vice President Leni Robredo is pushing for safeguards to prevent abuses on its implementation.

Vice-President Leni Robredo

Robredo, a leader of the opposition, said the newly signed law does not have “enough” safeguards against abuses.

“Iyong hinihingi natin, hindi na hindi magkaroon ng Anti-Terrorism Law. Iyong hinihingi natin, kung magkakaroon, siguraduhin iyong safeguards sa pang-aabuso (We are not asking not to have an Anti-Terrorism Law. What I’m asking is, if there would be one, ensure the safeguards are in place against abuses),” she said over local radio station dzXL.

President Duterte signed the anti-terrorism law or Republic Act 11479 last Friday, June 3, a move which has been met by opposition from various groups and individuals for its “questionable” provisions. 

Since Saturday, four petitions questioning the constitutionality of the new measure had been filed before the Supreme Court. 

The first petition was filed by a group led by law professor Howard Calleja, followed by petitions of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Far Eastern University College of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria, and members of the Makabayan bloc.

The petitioners asked the SC for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the controversial measure from taking effect.
The vice president said the anti-terror bill should have provisions that ensure the protection of people’s rights before it was enacted. 

“Kasi puwede namang may version, na dinadagdagan mo iyong ngipin, kung gusto mong dagdagan iyong ngipin. Ang paniniwala ng marami, enough na iyong existing laws natin (There could be a version where you can add more teeth. Many believe that our existing laws are enough),” she said.

“Pero halimbawa iyong paniniwala mo hindi pa, kung dadagdagan, siguraduhin lang na protektado iyong rights ng mga mamamayan (But if you think it’s not, if you add teeth, make sure that the rights of the people are protected),” Robredo added.

The official is hopeful the SC would not be “pressured by those in power” when it renders a decision on the constitutionality of the anti-terrorism law.