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Anti-terror IRR has enough safety nets

Alvin Murcia

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An official of the Department of Justice (DoJ) assured those who have aired opposition to the Anti-Terror Law of 2020 that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have clarified all provisions to make sure there are enough safety nets to protect basic rights of the people.

DoJ Undersecretary Adrian Sugay said yesterday the crafting Of the IRR was on time and there is no problem with the law because it was clarified.

“Yes, we clarified its meaning, what other laws should be followed.We clarified all of it and it abides by the Constitution,” said Sugay when he was inquired about the provision on the warrantless arrest.

Sugay admitted there were many petitions pending before the Supreme Court (SC) opposing the Anti-Terror Law but unless the high bench has not junked it, it will still be effective.

The DoJ official presumed it valid unless it was junked by the High Bench and they are of the belief that if there are supposed flaw its not the whole law.

Law not flawed
He said it is also possible that the IRR can be submitted by the Solicitor General to the SC to further strengthen its position that the law is not flawed and it is the answer to terrorism.

Lawyers of the DoJ has been tasked by DoJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to craft the IRR of the anti-terror law which clarified provisions of the law.

This include among others the 60 days surveillance, warrantless arrest and 24-hour detention which was being questioned by some 37 petitioners before the SC.

Sugay said the IRR cleared it up particularly in the rules of procedures and they are focused on explaining to the public about the content of the law to brush their reservation and fear that their civil rights might be violated.

He explained that the IRR has clarified everything including the limitations of the law an what should be avoided by the law enforcement agencies pertaining to the implementation of the said law.

However, while the IRR is being crafted it is also clear that the threat of terrorism needs to be addressed due to its presence just like in other countries. “We need to do something to address terrorism in our country,” Sugay said.

The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) earlier approved the draft IRR of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

Doubting Thomases
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meantime, welcomed the newly-crafted IRR of the controversial ATA of 2020, saying this will enlighten the “doubting Thomases” and the law enforcers.

“I hope that the release of the law’s IRR will now enlighten our law enforcement officers as well as Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel, so they will be properly guided in performing their all-important mission of protecting our citizens from the indiscriminate and merciless acts of terrorism that can only be perpetrated by people with the ugliest and most senseless ideologies,” Lacson, the principal sponsor of the law, said in a statement.

“I hope the doubting Thomases will likewise be enlightened as to the legislative intent of this landmark legislation,” he added.

Lacson commended those who crafted the 48-page IRR for “putting emphasis” on the law’s compliance to the Bill of Rights provided by the Constitution.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the IRR was drafted by the technical group led by the DoJ.

He said copies of the IRR will be disseminated to Congress and to law enforcement agencies as required under the law, and will publish the IRR online and in a newspaper of general circulation in the next few days.

The IRR will take effect upon publication and registration with the Office of the National Administrative Register.

He said the IRR does not carry a specific provision pertaining to social media regulation.

In an earlier statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque noted that the measure’s approval demonstrates “our serious commitment to stamp out terrorism, which has long plagued the country and has caused unimaginable grief and horror to many of our people.”

“As we have said, the President, together with his legal team, took time to study this piece of legislation weighing the concerns of different stakeholders,” Roque said.

with HANANEEL BORDEY
and ELMER N. MANUEL

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