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Despite citizen protests, Duterte deems anti-terror bill “urgent”

Despite citizen protests, Duterte deems anti-terror bill “urgent”

inquirer duterte anti-terror bill

On Jun. 1, President Rodrigo Duterte deemed the urgency of enacting the anti-terrorism bill through a letter received by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

In the letter, Duterte says its immediate passing serves to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to inadequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

This certification of the bill as urgent grants the expedition of its passage in the House of Representatives. “It is certified urgent bill para matapos ito bago mag-recess yung Congress ngayong June 5,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a virtual press briefing on Jun. 1.

After the recess, sessions in the House of Representatives and Senate will resume in late July for Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

This bill, which the President certified the immediate enactment of as a “necessity,” will repeal the current Human Security Act of 2007. It will be providing law enforcers the power to incriminate anyone who can be considered a threat to the state by proposing, inciting, conspiring or participating in acts of terrorism. 

The penalty for this reaches to 12 years in prison, and if a person is suspected, they can be detained without a warrant of arrest for 14 days or placed under 60 days of surveillance, which can be extended to 30 more days thereafter.

The measure also gives law enforcers an exemption from being liable for illegally detaining anyone or failing to present an arrested person to a court within the prescribed period.

Just last May 29, the anti-terror bill received the approval of two committees from the House of Representatives—namely, the committees on Public Order and Safety as well as National Defense and Security. It was first voted on by the Senate on Feb. 26—both times resulting in public disapproval.

Recently, the #JunkTerrorBill protest resurfaced online as organizations, activists and netizens expressed their denunciation of the bill immediately after news of the House’s approval of the bill broke out.

[READ: The anti-terrorism bill has received the approval of the House—but not of the public]

In response to this, Lorenzana said that he sees no basis for those opposing the anti-terror bill. According to him, the protection of human rights is sufficiently covered in the bill’s provisions, and it also has enough safeguards against enforcers abusing the power and authority provided by the measure.


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