INFORMATION obtained by the state from suspects under the Philippines2021 anti-terrorism law are now considered confidential files, according to a new Palace memorandum.  

A memorandum circular signed by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on Mar. 17 states that records of surveillance of suspects along with interception and recording of communications acquired by a law enforcement agent or military personnel under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 are among the latest exceptions to the right to information.  

The memorandum, which was released on Thursday, updated an executive order (EO) issued in 2016 during the administration of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte.  

The 2016 EO, which sought to promote transparency, set the rules for requesting information from executive branch offices   

In 2020, Mr. Duterte signed an anti-terrorism legislation that critics said was too broad and could be used to harass critics and activists.    

Two provisions of the law were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2021, invalidating a provision that would have criminalized protests deemed by authorities as harmful. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza