The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, May 3, launched a dialogue on the proposed judicial rules on anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism financing cases.
“Now, through this Dialogue, it is hoped that Members of the Judiciary as well as other stakeholders invited in this activity will share their concerns on the substantive laws and their suggestions on judicial procedures so that the proposed ATA Rules can, all the more, achieve its objective of protecting fundamental rights under the backdrop of effective law enforcement,” Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said at the start of the dialogue held in Mandaue City, Cebu.
“I hope the discussions will find common and workable solutions to aid the Court in coming up with a balanced set of anti-terrorism rules.” he added.
Gesmundo noted that the retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno heads the Ad Hoc Committee for the Formulation of the Special Rules.
“The passing of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020, and our substantial upholding of its constitutionality, provided us with the impetus to draft rules that would protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, in view of the pro-active and preventive law enforcement measures adopted to thwart possible acts of terror and check actions which have the potential to inflict damage and
destruction on a large scale,” Gesmundo explained.
“It is through these rules that we endeavor to assuage the concerns and apprehensions of the public, and in the end, create an equilibrium of safety and liberty in our country,” he pointed out.
The chief justice reminded that the ATA of 2020 updated the Human Security Act (HAS) of 2007.
“One of the ATA’s most important update is the introduction of the preventive philosophy not previously found under the HAS,” he cited.
“Such preventive philosophy – as compared to the ‘reactive’ philosophy of the HSA – is manifested by the penalizing of ‘inchoate offenses’ in Section 4 of the ATA which are preparatory to terrorism, in order to have a more effective counter-terrorism response.” Gesmundo said.
However, Gesmundo admitted “such preventive approach comes with the danger of state abuses brought about by overzealous law enforcement.”