THE Supreme Court has ordered the government to comment on petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
SC Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka said the government through the Office of the Solicitor General was given 10 days upon receipt of the order to answer the petitions.
Just the other day the SC set for oral arguments the multi-sectoral petitions questioning the controversial legislation.
According to Hosaka, the oral arguments shall be held in the third week of September at the earliest. "The proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized," Hosaka said.
Also, Hosaka bared that the high court consolidated the last six petitions with the 19 others previously filed since President Duterte signed the law last July 3.
A total of 25 petitions have been filed before the SC questioning the constitutionality of the controversial legislation.
President Rodrigo Duterte last month signed a stricter anti-terrorism bill, condemned by critics and rights groups as a weapon to target opponents and stifle free speech.
Duterte defended the law, saying law-abiding citizens should not fear as it targets terrorists including communist insurgents.
The highly contested provisions of the law are the following:
• section 4 – definition of Terrorism;
• section 5 – the threat to commit terrorism;
• section 6 – planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism;
• section 9 – inciting to commit terrorism;
• section 10 – recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization;
• section 11 – foreign terrorist;
• section 12 – providing material support to terrorists.
• section 25 – designation of terrorist individual, groups of persons, organizations or associations;
• section 26 – proscription of terrorist organizations, associations or group of persons;
• section 27 – preliminary order of proscription
• section 29 – detention without judicial warrant of arrest.