Lagman and Makabayan bloc petitions constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act in SC

Lagman and Makabayan bloc petitions constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act in SC

The groups challenging the newly signed Republic Act No. 11479, or or Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 is gaining ground as members of the law academe joined forces and has  they have filed their respective petitions assailing its constitutionality.
Albay representative Edcel Lagman was the second petitioner and first lawmaker to question the constitutionality of the Republic Act No. 11479, or Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

The Makabayan bloc, led by House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list), also filed a petition citing the incidents where they were “victims of terrorist-tagging by State forces.” 
(photo credit to Makabayan bloc)

Lagman and the Makabayan bloc’s petition is different in the sense that they want the whole Anti-Terrorism Act to be striked down as unconstitutional for being replete with constitutional infirmities.
“It was crafted in imprecise and vague language so much so that there is no certitude as to what acts the law actually prescribes, thus leaving citizens perplexed on what to avoid doing, even as its vagueness is conducive to conflicting interpretations and arbitrary enforcement,” Lagman said.
Lagman and the representatives of the Makabayan bloc voted no to the passage of the anti-terrorism bill when it was being deliberated upon in Congress.

In his Petition for Certiorari, Lagman said: “[T]he war against suspected terrorists and the campaign against terrorism cannot be pursued and intensified by sacrificing human rights, civil liberties and fundamental freedoms which are enshrined in and protected by the Constitution.” 
The Albay representative questions the long period of detention “is conducive to the person detained being tortured or coerced into involuntary confession by law enforcers, notwithstanding motherhood declarations of safeguards. Moreover, prolonged interrogation amounts to mental/psychological torture under the “Anti-Torture Act of 2009.”
The lawmaker also assailed the criminalization and punishment of “threat”, “proposal”, and “inciting” to commit terrorism, as this “effectively restrains people from exercising their freedom of speech to seek redress of grievances and criticize the government and its officials for fear that their expression of contrary opinion and legitimate dissent, even outrage, will be considered criminal acts for which they can be jailed for 12 long years.”

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