FFW cautions authorities on violating the Constitution

Press Statement
June 4, 2020
Contact: Atty. Sonny Matula
President, Federation of Free Workers (FFW)
FFW cautions authorities on violating the Constitution

In the fight against terror, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) calls on authorities not to be seduced to run afoul with our constitution.

Congress has succumbed to the enticement and temptation of anti-terror passion by hastily passing SB 1083 and HB 6875. The FFW rejects such seduction as it is detrimental to democracy and repugnant to human rights, particularly the rights to life and liberty of our people.

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No matter how seductive, the FFW calls on the government not to run afoul with our fundamental law to defeat terrorism. A mere executive order issued by the the Anti-Terrorism Council alone under Section 29 of the Anti Terrorist Bills, is void to warrant arrest of any person suspected of any of the acts of terrorism. Such an executive act alone is clearly reckless and repugnant to the 1987 Constitution!

The Senate and the House recently passed SB 1083 and HB 6875 (Anti-Terror Bills), respectively, which grant authority to law enforcers to arrest any person suspected of committing any terrorist act and detain him for 24 days. Such grant of power being exercised at the behest of the executive department alone is outside the plenary power of Congress and, therefore, clearly unconstitutional.

FFW thinks that the passage of these bills allowing the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) alone to issue arrest order under Section 29 of both bills is gross ignorance of the basic legal principles of separation of powers.

Also, Section 29 is repugnant to Article III, Section 2 of the fundamental law, the anchor of our objection.

Section 2, Article III states that a search warrant or warrant of arrest can only be issued upon showing of:

(1) a probable cause to be determined personally by the judge,

(2) after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce,

(3) and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Basic in Constitutional Law that it is only a judge who may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person. In the case of Salazar vs. Achacoso, 183 SCRA 145, the Supreme Court categorically stated thus –

“x x x it is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest and reaffirming the following principles

“1. Under Article III Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, it is only judges and no other, who may issue warrants of arrests and search;

“2. The exception is in cases of deportation of illegal and undesirable aliens, whom the President or the Commissioner of Immigration may order arrested, following a final order of deportation for the purpose of deportation."

FFW with Nagkaisa Labor Coalition holds the opinion that countering terrorism must not run afoul with the fundamental law, otherwise it is void.

Countering terrorism and protecting human rights are mutually reinforcing goals.

Fundamental to this is the understanding that terrorism is a denial of democracy and of human rights to life and liberty.

FFW’s commitment to combating all acts of terrorism is not diminished by observing the constitution.

FFW, Nagakaisa and other democratic organizations and believers of human rights are committed to fighting the evils of terror acts, without exception, and that includes the protection of all individuals from terror acts, whether it comes from the state or those groups who advocate violent extremism that leads to terrorism.###

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