SC authorizes warrantless arrest

The Supreme Court has ruled that the anti-terrorism Human Security Act of 2007 (Republic Act No. 9372) does not violate the 1987 Constitution.

In a 45-page decision, the high tribunal junked six consolidated petitions challenging the legality of the law. All magistrates concurred with Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales’ ponencia, except Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who was on official leave.

Voting unanimously, the court affirmed the constitutionality of the law, which criminalizes terrorism and authorizes preventive detention and warrantless arrest of terror suspects, among others.

The HSA is a dangerous law, according to legal luminaries including Jose Diokno, dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, saying it authorizes preventive detention, expands the power of warrant-less arrest, and allows for unchecked invasion of privacy, liberty and other basic rights.

Persons merely suspected of engaging in terrorism may be arrested without warrant and detained without charges, they added.

When former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Human Security Act in July 2007, civic groups said the law would be used to crack down political dissenters and will lead to human rights abuses. The criticisms were made by lawyers amid the Arroyo administration’s growing unpopularity.

The court said the petitioners have no “locus standi” (legal standing) to question the Human Security Act because none of them have been charged under the said law.

The petitioners were groups led by the Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc., Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Karapatan Alliance For the Advancement of People’s Right, The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog.


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