SC ruling on ATA: ‘Devastating blow to human rights, democracy’ — Akbayan

Published December 9, 2021, 3:44 PM

by Jel Santos


Akbayan Partylist on Thursday, Dec. 9, said the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision on the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 on most of its provisions “is still a threat to human rights and political and civil liberties.”

In a statement, Akbayan expressed its “grave disappointment” on the SC ruling which it described as a “devastating blow” for human rights, a day before the country marks International Human Rights Day on Friday, Dec. 10.

In an advisory, the SC’s public information office (PIO) said that declared unconstitutional in ATA, which was enacted on July 3, 2020 and enforced starting July 18, 2020, were:

1. “The qualifier to the proviso in Section 4 of RA 11479, i.e., ‘… which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety’ by a vote of 12-3 is declared as unconstitutional for being overbroad and violative of freedom of expression.

2. “The second method for designation in Section 25 paragraph 2 of RA 11479, i.e., ‘Request for designation by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the ATC (Anti-Terrorism Council) after determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of UNSCR (United Nations Security Council Resolution) No. 1373’ is declared unconstitutional by a vote of 9-6.”

The SC ruled that “on the basis of the current petitions, all the other challenged provisions of RA 11479 are not unconstitutional,” the PIO said.

“This is a devastating blow for human rights and democracy. The Supreme Court missed the opportunity to defend the Filipino people’s human rights and democracy,” Akbayan First Nominee Percival Cendana said.

He said the government must not “terrorize the public in order to address terrorism.”

Akbayan was one of the petitioners in 37 petitions filed against ATA.

It said it is “in the process of consulting with legal experts, particularly from the human rights community, to see what other legal remedies are available so that the Supreme Court can reconsider its decision.”

It pointed out that “to truly address terrorism, government should address its root causes, and fix the conditions that drive people towards terrorist groups.”

It also said: “Terrorism is not just a security issue, and beating it through force and fear are not enough. It involves all of society. We must all work to address the systemic causes of discontent – poverty, disenfranchisement, and gross inequality. If we meet these challenges, only then we will enjoy a nation that is truly free of fear.”