Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (File photo)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said “every citizen” has the right to question the newly-signed anti-terrorism law before the Supreme Court (SC).

Guevarra made this comment after the eighth petition was filed by Sanlakas before the SC, questioning Republic Act No. 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on July 3, 2020.

"It is the right of every citizen to question an act of the legislature that he thinks is contrary to the fundamental law of the land,” Guevarra said.

On the other hand, Guevarra said the SC, as final arbiter of all controversies involving the rights of the citizenry, is “bounden duty” to determine with exactitude the constitutional limits of state of power.

"This right and duty are at the very heart of all the petitions filed in relation to the anti-terrorism law." Guevarra added.

The SC earlier asked the executive department to comment on the petitions questioning the legality of RA 11479. The court has yet to issue temporary restraining order.

Among other things, the petitioners assailed issues on powers of the Anti-Terrorism Council, provisions on the forms of speech and expression, surveillance, and detention.

The petitions also questioned the definition of the crime of terrorism under the law claiming it as vague and ambiguous, the maximum of 24 days of prolonged detention of a suspect without a judicial warrant or without charging him, the maximum of 90 days technical surveillance and wiretapping of communications, the maximum of six months investigation of a suspect’s bank accounts and the freezing of assets and the authority to designate a person or association as a terrorist without judicial intervention.

The new law repealed R 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007. (PNA)