The newly signed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 violates the right of Filipinos to privacy, party-list Bayan Muna representatives said.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said in a statement, the right to privacy is one that would be severely hit once the law is implemented.
Zarate noted that the Section 16 of the law gives authority to the police and the military to choose suspects who will be on surveillance and whose communications would be recorded and intercepted.
“Because of the preferred status accorded by the Constitution to the right to privacy, any law that infringes on the said right is heavily presumed with unconstitutionality,” he said.
READ ALSO: Lawyers, lawmakers file petitions against Anti-Terrorism Act
“In Ople v. Torres, the Supreme Court declared that laws that infringe on the right to privacy must overcome the Strict Scrutiny Test for the same to be considered constitutional,” the representative added.
Zarate and other representatives from the Makabayan Bloc earlier filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020. Their petition said that privacy is “a liberty that occupies a preferred position in the hierarchy of rights.”
“It is given a priority that gives it sanctity and a sanction not permitting dubious intrusion from the government,” the statement added.
Ferdinand Gaite, another Representative of Bayan Muna, stressed that the law is not necessary given that there are “criminal laws already in place to deter the terror acts defined under Section 4 of the law.”
He noted that all the authorities need to do is to strictly implement these criminal laws already in place to defeat the acts the law seeks to crush.
“This is certainly allowable under the constitution as there would be no need to infringe on the constitutional right to privacy,” Gaite said.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat, said that the vagueness and broadness of the law make it a huge threat to privacy and democracy.
“Maski simpleng post sa Facebook na tumutuligsa sa kapalpakan ng gobyerno sa paglutas sa pandemya ng COVID ay maaaring gamitin para manmanan ang nag-post nito saka i-monitor at i-record ang paggamit ng internet ng taong ito sa loob ng 60-90 araw,” she said.
Photo credit: British Herald
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