Anti-terror law will have internal rules soon, but still no SC hearing

The feared Philippine anti-terror law will have its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) soon, yet the Supreme Court (SC) has still not scheduled its promised oral arguments on the currently 37 petitions against the law.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday, October 8, that the IRR "will be done by October 14."

The law became effective on July 18 and even though it can be implemented without IRR, the Philippine government held off and said it would rather wait for the internal rules.

Petitioners said this voluntary delay by the government is proof that the law is too vague, and therefore unconstitutional.

The SC promised in August that it would hold oral arguments by end-September. But this is now set to be overtaken by the publication of the IRR, which is expected to also trigger full-speed implementation by law enforcement.

"No schedule has been set by the en banc as of today," SC Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said on Thursday.

The next en banc session would be on Tuesday, October 13, and the IRR would be done the next day.

Guevarra said the draft IRR does not include regulation of social media, which was first floated by military chief General Gilbert Gapay.

"Not in the draft I saw," Guevarra said when asked.

This threat of a social media crackdown led the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to file a strongly worded pleading, asking the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against the law as soon as possible.

"In this eleventh hour, this Court stands as the last and only vanguard of our fragile democracy," said FLAG.

The SC has not taken any action since. –

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.