Congress transmits anti-terrorism bill to Malacañang

Congress has submitted the enrolled copy of the anti-terrorism bill to Malacañang, even as House lawmakers urged their leadership not to transmit the bill yet.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III confirmed on Tuesday, June 9, that he has already signed the bill.

"[Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano] signed last night. Sending it to PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) this morning," Sotto said.

As of writing, Sotto said that the bill is "on its way" to Malacañang.

Sotto also said that a soft copy was sent to the Office of the President, Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

In a text message to reporters at around 2 pm, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that Malacañang received the copy of the enrolled bill.

Duterte will have to sign the bill to be passed into law, unless he decides to veto the measure.

The President may also decide not to act on it. The bill will lapse into law 30 days after receipt.

The anti-terrorism bill hurdled the House of Representatives on June 3, two days after the President certified the measure as urgent. The lower chamber adopted the Senate version of the bill.

Youth, progressive, and human rights groups asked lawmakers to junk the anti-terrorism bill, as they sounded the alarm over the broad definition of what constitutes as "terrorism."

Several House lawmakers withdrew their yes votes for the anti-terror bill, with opposition lawmaker Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman urging Cayetano not to sign the enrolled anti-terror bill yet while constitutional questions remain.

The votes were apparently not enough to overturn the House approval.

The bill defined terrorism as engaging in the following acts, with the purpose of inciting fear and seriously destabilizing structures in the country, among others:

  • Causing death or serious bodily injuries to any persons, or endangers a person's life
  • Causing extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place, or private property
  • Causing extensive interference with, damage, or destruction to critical infrastructure
  • Developing, manufacturing, possessing, acquiring, transporting, supplying, or using weapons, explosives, or biological, nuclear, radiological, or chemical weapons
  • Releasing dangerous substances or cause fire, floods, and explosions

Under the bill, those who will propose, incite, conspire, and participate in the planning, training, and facilitation of a terrorist attack could face a sentence equivalent to life imprisonment.

The same punishment would be meted out to those who will provide support to terrorists and recruit anyone to be a member of a terrorist organization.

Suspected persons can be detained without a warrant of arrest and placed under 60-day surveillance, which may be extended to at most 30 days by the police or the military. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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