Greenpeace`s Southeast Asia office has been pushing for the repeal of the 2020 anti-terrorism law because of its “comprehensive definition of terrorism,” which it says could be misused to suppress dissent.  There was one notable exception. The court struck down part of a provision defining what terrorism is and declared it too broad because it could have interpreted terrorism as including the exercise of civil rights such as advocacy, protests and work stoppages. Hermogenes Esperon, national security adviser and vice chairman of the Counterterrorism Council, said the government would respect any decision of the court. While some human rights activists welcome what they call “a partial victory,” the verdict as a whole appears to be a significant victory for President Duterte. Several applicants say they intend to ask the court for a review of the case. A protester wearing a surgical mask to protect himself from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attends a rally against the anti-terrorism law passed the day before by President Rodrigo Duterte in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 4, 2020. Manila (AFP) – The Philippines` highest court has struck down a “killer reserve” in President Rodrigo Duterte`s controversial anti-terrorism law, but critics said Thursday that the rest of the legislation still threatens human rights. Known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the law allows suspects to be detained for up to 24 days without charge and empowers a government counterterrorism council to designate suspects or groups as suspected terrorists who could then be arrested and monitored. It replaces a 2007 anti-terrorism law called the Human Security Act, which was rarely enforced, largely because law enforcement feared a provision that imposed a fine of 500,000 pesos ($10,000) for each day they wrongly arrested a terrorist suspect. The petitioners stated that one of them was a provision they had described as a “killer reserve”, which they said was so vague that a demonstration or strike could be declared an act of terrorism. The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, officially known as Republic Act No.
11479, is a Philippine law whose intent is to prevent, prohibit and punish terrorism in the Philippines.  The law was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020 and effectively replaced the Human Security Act of 2007 on July 18, 2020.   The 2020 anti-terrorism law allows suspects to be detained for up to 24 days without charge, compared to only 36 hours in the country`s revised penal code. It also empowers a government counter-terrorism council to designate suspects or groups as suspected terrorists, allowing them to be arrested and monitored. In the Philippines, there are many competing struggles for the rights to self-determination and international terrorist networks. For years, the Philippine government has prosecuted suspected terrorists without an anti-terrorism law. The absence of an explicit criminal violation for acts of terrorism has led to a blurred distinction between punishing terrorists and punishing secessionists. In response to the public outcry that the Philippine government is violating human rights by unfairly punishing secessionists, the United Nations conducted an investigation. This investigation led to the Philippine government being placed on the United Nations Human Rights Watch list. Philippine lawmakers passed the Human Security Act of 2007 (“HSA”) shortly after.
This law codifies acts that can be punished as crimes of terrorism. Since the passage of the HSA, five prominent interest groups have asked the Supreme Court of the Philippines to withdraw the anti-terrorism law as unconstitutional because it interfered too vaguely and unjustifiably with the rights of individuals. This commentary analyses the legality of the HSA. Fearing “deadly consequences,” human rights groups in the Philippines expressed dismay after the Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the anti-terrorism law that they say undermine the country`s democracy by threatening human rights. After protests against the controversial anti-terrorism law, several cloned Facebook accounts were created on the platform. It started with the University of the Philippines Cebu on June 6, 2020, which were targeted by the newly created Facebook accounts and duplicated on their own.  Later, it was directed against residents of Metro Manila, Iloilo, Dumaguete and Cagayan in Oro City and other areas who had participated in protests against the law.    As a result, the hashtag #HandsOffOurStudents trend on Twitter, which condemned Internet users for creating fake accounts.  Justice Minister Menardo Guevarra expressed concern about the matter and asked the Agency`s Cybercrime Division to coordinate with the NBI and PNP to investigate the case.
  The government says it needs the anti-terrorism law to fight the uprisings. MANILA, 9. December (Reuters) – The Philippine Supreme Court on Thursday declared two parts of a controversial anti-terrorism law unconstitutional, appalling activists and human rights groups who had called for the repeal of the legislation over fears of a threat to civil liberties. The Counter-Terrorism Council, composed of members of Duterte`s cabinet, can order the arrest of any person it deems a terrorist without a warrant. Nine judges ruled unconstitutional that the Counter-Terrorism Council designates individuals and groups as terrorists at the request of other countries or international organizations such as ASEAN or the EU. The applicants described it as a flagrant violation of due process because it deprived an accused of the opportunity to hold a hearing in the Philippines before being classified as a terrorist. Twelve of the 15 judges voted to remove a line stipulating that public protests, dissent, work stoppages and other exercises of political rights are not considered acts of terrorism as long as they are “not intended to cause death or serious physical injury. or to create a serious risk to public safety. They said the eligibility requirements were “too broad and violate freedom of expression.” Nine judges also ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Counter-Terrorism Council to designate individuals and groups as terrorists on the basis of requests from other countries or international organizations. .