/ 12 December 2021

FAR Eastern University law professors commended the ruling of the Supreme Court declaring parts of the Anti-Terror Law unconstitutional.

Dean Atty. Mel Sta. Maria of the FEU Law School and the rest of its faculty described the move as a victory for human rights and civil liberties.

“This guarantees the protection of people’s continued exercise of free speech, expression, and assembly, including academic freedom, especially in voicing dissent against government shortcomings and excesses,” they said.

“While we hoped for the declaration of unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Act in its entirely, we respect the Supreme Court’s decision to exercise judicial restraint when it said ‘on the basis of the current petitions, all the other challenged provisions of RA 11479 are not unconstitutional’. This certainly leaves the door open for a challenge of constitutionality on ‘as applied cases’,’” they added.

On Thursday, the SC voted 12-3 to declare unconstitutional the qualifier portion of Section 4 stating, “which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety.”

Likewise stricken down by a vote of 9-6 was a portion of Section 25, paragraph 2 which allows “request for designations by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the ATC after determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of UNSCR No. 1373.”

Meanwhile, the professors pointed out Section 29 of ATL should likewise be struck down as being unconstitutional as it “legitimizes warrantless arrests on the basis of mere suspicion, and for encroaching on exclusively judicial power and prerogative.”

To continue to fight for the striking down of the provision, they said they will study the filing of a Motion for Reconsideration.

“The threat of arrest without a judicial warrant and prolonged detention would be more than chilling enough to stifle, suppress, if not totally snuff out, any fire, flame, or even flicker, of indignation or protest against government corruption, oppression, and abuse,” they explained.