First draft of anti-terrorism law’s implementing rules now for review — DOJ chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17)— The first draft of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the controversial anti-terrorism law has been crafted and will now be reviewed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra confirmed the development in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday, and assured that necessary changes will be made in the draft guidelines.

“Yesterday, I already got the first draft of the IRR. I’m going to review and examine the first draft, and make the necessary changes or edits if necessary,” Guevarra told The Source. “Then we are going to submit this initial draft of the IRR to the anti-terrorism council immediately for their consideration.”

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the anti-terrorism council and the DOJ have until October 16 to come up with an IRR, or 90 days after the law took effect on July 18. Guevarra expressed optimism that the IRR will be completed and released before the prescribed 90-day deadline.

The anti-terrorism law— which repealed the Human Security Act of 2007— will give more surveillance powers to government forces. Among its contentious features is a provision allowing suspected terrorists to be arrested without warrant and detained without charges for up to 24 days.

Critics have previously voiced out concerns over the measure, saying it may be open to abuse and lead to possible human rights violations. Government officials and lawmakers have repeatedly dismissed these claims, saying citizens have their rights and several safeguards under the Constitution.