The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the national body of all Filipino lawyers, has filed the 34th petition against the anti-terror law.
In seeking to declare the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 as illegal, the IBP in the petition before the Supreme Court said that its members would have a difficult time defending suspects charged under a vague statute.
IBP was actually tasked under Section 30 of the anti-terror law to be the first to respond to arrests and detentions. This is a shared task with the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO).
“If the criminal acts are actually determined by respondent anti-terrorism council, and not by the law itself, in no way can petitioner IBP adequately inform accused of the nature of the charges against them, much less defend the rights of the accused during trial,” said the IBP in a 65-page petition filed before the Supreme Court on Friday, September 11.
“Counsels who will appear to question the arrests, detention and prosecution of alleged violators of the anti-terrorism act are gravely prejudiced by the fact that the vagueness of the law prevents them from doing so even to the best of their ability because the terms employed are too subjective even for lawyers,” said the petition.