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Anti-terror law challenged by 16 petitions so far

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There are so far 16 petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA) before the Supreme Court (SC), according to a list released by the tribunal on Thursday.

In a list released by court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka, the court identified the following as "anti-terrorism law cases":

1. Howard Calleja, et al vs Executive Secretary, et al
2. Edcel Lagman vs Executive Secretary, et al
3. Melencio Sta. Maria, et al vs Salvador Medialdea, et al
4. Isagani Zarate, et al vs Rodrigo Duterte, at al
5. Rudolf Jurado vs Anti-Terrorism Council, et al
6. CTUHR, et al vs Rodrigo Duterte, et al
7. Christian Monsod, et al vs Salvador Medialdea, et al
8. SANLAKAS vs Rodrigo Duterte, et al
9. Federation of Free Workers, et al vs Office of the President, et al
10. Jose Ferrer Jr vs Salvador Medialdea, et al
11. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, et al vs Rodrigo Duterte, et al
12. Antonio Carpio, et al vs Anti-Terrorism Council, et al
13. Ma Ceres Doyo, et al vs Salvador Medialdea, et al
14. National Union of Journalists, et al vs Anti-Terrorism Council, et al
15. Kabataang Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatan, et al vs Executive Secretary
16. Algamar Latiph, et al vs Senate, et al

The petitioners range from retired SC justices, opposition lawmakers, and framers of the 1987 Constitution to lawyers, human rights advocates, law professors, labor groups, youth organizations, journalists, and artists.

Common among their petitions are objections to the "vague and overbroad" definition of terrorism and of other related crimes which are anchored on this definition; as well as the the up-to-24 day warrantless detention of terrorism suspects, among others.

The critics of the law warned that it endangers constitutionally protected rights, such as the freedom of speech, the press, and of assembly.

More petitions are expected to be filed, making the ATA one of the most challenged laws before the highest Philippine court.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, to recall, was met with 15 petitions. In 2014, the SC ruled that the online libel provision in the law is constitutional even as it struck down a number of other provisions.

The Reproductive Health Law, on the other hand, was challenged by 14 petitions and two petitions-in-intervention. The SC upheld the constitutionality of the law except for parts of some provisions in 2014.

Former SC spokeman Theodore Te, who joined the petition by retired justices Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales and represents the group of Senator Francis Pangilinan, said they "hope for the best" and "prepare for the worst."

"In recent memory, I don't remember a law that has been met with as diverse, as loud, as comprehensive and as united an opposition as this one," Te said in a livestreamed press conference Thursday.

Citing the RH law, which he said was met by a "deluge of petitions," he said  this does not by itself predict their chances. But he said the court is a "human institution" whose members are "aware of what's going on."

"They read the news, they hear about contrary views, so I am pretty sure right now the members of the court are probably already chewing on the various opinions that have been circulated, and so that by itself will probably have an effect as they vote, as they think about the petitions," he said. —LDF, GMA News

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