ILOILO CITY – Upholding of the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 was one of the finest moments of the Supreme Court.
Portions of the law that were declared unconstitutional do not render the ATA ineffective, according to Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, spokesperson of the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) on Friday.
“The SC ruling will be remembered in the history of this great nation as the ruling that ramified the single piece of legislation that will usher in a new era of a just and lasting peace for the Filipino people,” he said in a statement.
Gonzales said Filipinos won over those masquerading as revolutionaries while the five-decade deception of the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has ended.
Being constitutional, the law will give the government and its state forces a “solid basis to enforce the full force of the law against terrorists and all those who are supporting them,” he added.
“The ATA of 2020 is the clear, glaring, and firm reminder to all terrorist organizations in this country that as enemies of the Filipino people, the government will not hesitate to use all applicable provisions of the law to effectively neutralize them and to render them totally ineffective to cause damage to life, liberty, and property of the each and every citizen of this great nation,” he said.
Gonzales reiterated his call for the remaining members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to surrender, reunite with their families, and become part of their communities again.
He said that they don’t want to see more Filipino lives wasted in a hopeless cause that has lost meaning and morality a long time ago.
According to the SC decision released Thursday, 12 of the 15 justices ruled as “overbroad and violative of freedom of expression” Section 4 that states public protests, dissent, work stoppages and other exercises of political rights would not be considered as acts of terrorism as long as these “are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm ... or to create a serious risk to public safety.”
A vote of 9-6 also struck out Section 25, which allows the Anti-Terrorism Council to designate people and groups as terrorists based on the requests of other countries or international organizations. (PNA)