The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) can’t order the arrest of persons under the Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) assured Saturday.
“What the ATC authorizes is detention for an extended period,” said Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay following the publication of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in newspapers.
The Justice Undersecretary assured that the IRR was crafted taking into consideration the petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the constitutionality and legality of RA 11479.
Sugay said that the IRR was released not to allay fears of critics but to “merely implement the law.”
“We cannot go beyond what the law says,” Sugay said.
The Justice Undersecretary reiterated the government’s assurance that RA 11479 and its IRR do not go against the Constitution and other existing laws.
“Sa amin ‘yang batas na’ yan joins a whole system of laws that are already in place and judicial decisions, jurisprudence (For us the Anti-Terrorism Act joins a whole system of laws that are already in place and along with jurisprudence),” he said in response to petitions filed before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality and legality of RA 11479.
“So you cannot interpret the law to us as far as we are concerned in isolation or in a vacuum,” he added.
The IRR states that the ATC has “purely executive functions.”
“Nothing in the Act shall be interpreted to empower the ATC to exercise a judicial or quasi-judicial authority,” the IRR said.
There are at present 37 petitions filed before the SC questioning the constitutionality of RA 11479. Among the many provisions of the law being challenged is the alleged authority of the ATC to order arrests which petitioners pointed out is a judicial function.