The declaration of unconstitutionality of only two provisions of the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) fails to fully uphold and protect due process, human rights, and fundamental freedoms which are derogated by the controversial statute.
While the nullity of the killer proviso under Section 4 of the ATA and the method for designation in Section 25, Paragraph 2 of the ATA, is welcome, the entire law should have been voided.
The ATA’s definition of “terrorism” should have been junked for being grossly vague as it ensnares innocent victims who are the targets of the government’s vengeance and reprisal for being conscientious dissenters and vigilant critics of the administration.
Upholding the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Council’s authority to cause the detention of terror suspect under Section 29 for a maximum of 24 days without a judicial warrant of arrest is a blatant violation of the Constitution which mandates that only the courts can order the detention of a suspect through the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
Even in warrantless arrests, the detention of a suspect cannot be unduly prolonged before he is brought to the judicial authority.
Under the Constitution, during extraordinarily precarious times when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, a person apprehended must be released, if there are no charges filed against him in court, upon the expiration of three day’s detention.
When a suspect is unlawfully detained outside of the court’s jurisdiction, coerced confessions and torture are bound to be committed by police authorities in violation of the Bill of Rights.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN