On the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terror Law

Even with the 37 petitions before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have been finalized and released to the public. 

The IRR merely confirmed the issues raised by the petitioners regarding the draconian law and how it can potentially be weaponized against political dissenters, activists, members of the opposition, journalists and the broader public. 

Possible violations on the rights to freedom of expression, to association and to uphold and defend people’s rights loom, especially in the context of the Duterte government’s contempt for, persecution and terror-tagging of its critics. Provisions regarding warrantless arrests and detention without warrant remain violative of due process rights and provide an environment for torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The immense powers given to the Anti-Terrorism Council remain a grave concern, especially with alleged human rights violators at the helm.

Furthermore, the Anti-Terrorism Council’s power to the release to public a list of individuals and groups it "designates" as terrorists before giving them the chance to clear their names is a dangerous power: it legalizes the long-running terror-tagging rhetoric used by the Duterte government to publicly vilify, harass, and incite State violence against human rights defender and its critics.  Such terror-tagging has already claimed the lives of peace consultants Randy Malayao and Randall Echanis as well as human rights worker Zara Alvarez — all of whom were included in the Department of Justice's list of at least 600 names it sought to declare as terrorists under the old Human Security Act of 2007 back in 2018.

Terror-tagging kills, and we fear that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 would only further empower such attacks and abuses.

Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant on the implementation of one of the most questioned laws in the country. We continue to press for the repeal of this law that institutionalizes State terrorism and violence on the people.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General