Manila Bulletin

Anti-Terror Council can’t order arrests – DOJ

- By JEFFREY DAMICOG

The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) can’t order the arrest of persons under the Republic Act (RA) 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) assured Saturday.

“What the ATC authorizes is detention for an extended period,” said Justice Undersecre­tary Adrian Sugay following the publicatio­n of the law’s Implementi­ng Rules and Regulation­s (IRR) in newspapers.

The Justice Undersecre­tary assured that the IRR was crafted taking into considerat­ion the petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) questionin­g the constituti­onality and legality of RA 11479.

Sugay said that the IRR was released not to allay fears of critics but to “merely implement the law.”

“We cannot go beyond what the law says,” Sugay said.

The Justice Undersecre­tary reiterated the government’s assurance that RA 11479 and its IRR do not go against the Constituti­on and other existing laws.

“Sa amin ‘yang batas na’ yan joins a whole system of laws that are already in place and judicial decisions, jurisprude­nce (For us the

Anti-Terrorism Act joins a whole system of laws that are already in place and along with jurisprude­nce),” he said in response to petitions filed before the Supreme Court questionin­g the constituti­onality and legality of RA 11479.

“So you cannot interpret the law to us as far as we are concerned in isolation or in a vacuum,” he added.

The IRR states that the ATC has “purely executive functions.”

“Nothing in the Act shall be interprete­d to empower the ATC to exercise a judicial or quasi-judicial authority,” the IRR said.

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