The experience of OMCT`s SOS Torture network and its working group on torture and terrorism has shown that similar counter-terrorism laws have led to unjust regimes in other countries. Our legal document contains specific cases from 11 countries, which illustrate, among other things, how counter-terrorism laws that do not comply with international standards lead to forced confessions, the execution of minors, the censorship of legitimate freedom of expression, arbitrary detention and the prosecution of human rights defenders. Esperon says the Philippines` detention period is « one of the most limited » in the region, putting it on an equal footing with Australia and well below Singapore`s two-year warrantless detention period for terrorism suspects. The Anti-Terrorism Act 2020 amends the Human Security Act of 2007. It expands the definition of terrorism to include acts intended to cause « death or serious bodily harm to a person », « significant harm and destruction » to a government facility, private property or critical infrastructure, and where the purpose of such actions is to « intimidate the public », « create an atmosphere or message of fear » or « destabilize or destroy grassroots politics, the economic and social structures of the country ». Those convicted face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Philippine Supreme Court yesterday upheld the legality of an anti-terrorism law passed largely by President Rodrigo Duterte`s government last year, which opponents say could be used — for whatever reason — to suppress political dissent. 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.   Esperon, the national security adviser, says it is not possible to set up a terrorism case in 72 hours. « We need time to target criminals like terrorists, especially if they`re really good at covering their tracks, » he says. Human Rights, Terrorism and Counter-TerrorismOHCHR Fact Sheet No. 32 (2008) The government says it needs the anti-terrorism law to fight the insurgency. The 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act also removes a section of the Human Security Act 2007 aimed at protecting against the unlawful prosecution and detention of suspects. Previously, if a person detained under the HSA was indeed found not guilty, that person was compensated for the unlawful detention, with the costs being « automatically deducted from the funds of the police service or the Anti-Terrorism Council that brought or sanctioned the laying of charges against the accused. »  MANILA, Dec 9 (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 law`s repeal, fearing it would threaten civil liberties. On the 26th. In June 2021, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, OMCT filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court of the Philippines in support of 37 petitions from civil society organizations, lawyers, academics and individuals challenging the constitutionality of the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act.
Here are some key findings from the debate on the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The anti-terrorism law, which came into force in June 2020, has been heavily criticized by the United Nations as well as civil society organizations, including omct. The Anti-Terrorism Act violates human rights and creates an environment conducive to abuses, including torture. In particular, the law contains a vague and overly broad definition of terrorism, which carries a serious risk of arbitrary use and abuse. It also legalizes extended arrest periods without an arrest warrant of up to 24 days, imposes life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the material support of a terrorist, and allows for the sentencing of children under the law. In addition, the law establishes an anti-terrorism council composed of senior government officials who perform tasks normally reserved for the courts. B such as determining when the law applies and authorizing arrest without warrant. Hermogenes Esperon, national security adviser and vice chairman of the Counterterrorism Council, said the government would respect any decision of the court. National Security Advisor Hermogenes Esperon defends the provision, telling NPR that by law, « activism is not terrorism. » Philippine law undeniably reduces due process protection, but it does not deviate significantly from what other countries in the region are doing. More than 1,000 students and human rights activists gathered on June 12, 2020 on the campus of UP Diliman, which coincided with the 122nd day of independence from Spanish colonial rule and was dubbed the « Grand Mañanita. »  They called on the government to « reject » the bill, fearing that it would restrict basic human rights and freedom of expression and dissent.
The rally took place despite the government`s ban on mass gatherings in general community quarantine in Metro Manila and other parts of the country due to the pandemic. Protesters were seen wearing masks and practicing social distancing.   Similar protests were organized by activists in various cities such as Baguio, Legazpi, and Cebu City. Protests have also taken place at other universities such as De La Salle University in Manila.  Activist Mae Paner was also present at the event, disguised as Metro Manila Police Chief Debold Sinas, who faced controversy over her May 8, 2020 birthday party, which police called « Mananita. »   While some human rights activists hail 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. « But who defines what is a serious risk and what is not? » asks Aaron Sobel of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The court also declared unconstitutional article 25 of the law, which allows an anti-terrorism council appointed by the president to accept requests from other entities, including international organizations, to designate individuals or groups as terrorists. 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.  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.
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. It was approved by the Senate on February 26, 2020 with the following 19 votes in favor: Worldwide, supporters say, terrorism suspects who are detained indefinitely without charge could be ill-treated or even tortured. The 2. In July 2020, the Bangsamoro parliament passed a resolution calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the anti-terrorism law, arguing that it would lead to abuses and unfairly attack Muslim Filipinos who have faced religious discrimination in the past.  After the law was passed, Prime Minister Murad Ebrahim issued a statement saying that the Bangsamoro regional government fully respected President Duterte`s decision to sign the law and would seek representation on the Counterterrorism Council.  In response, the president`s spokesman, Harry Roque, pointed out that the law does not provide for a seat on the council for the Bangsamoro regional government, although the same law requires the council to coordinate with the government of the autonomous region.  The 3. In July 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which replaces the Human Security Act of 2007.