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Philippines Controversial New Anti-Terrorism Bill


Dafey

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Dafey

 

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Controversial new anti-terrorism bill now up for Duterte's signature

The controversial new anti-terrorism bill is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature after the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved it on third and final reading.

Voting 173 in the affirmative, 31 negative and 29 abstentions, the chamber approved House Bill 6875, which seeks to strengthen the government’s fight against terrorism and virtually repeals the Human Security Act of 2007.

The measure was approved on final reading only a day after it got the second reading approval.

The chamber was able to fast-track its approval after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the measure as urgent "in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare."

The House Committees on Public Order and Safety and on National Defense and Security on Friday adopted the Senate's version of the measure, which has been approved on third and final reading last February.

Since there are no disagreeing provisions between the Senate and House versions, the measure becomes an enrolled bill and there will be no need for a bicameral conference committee, said PBA party-list Representative Jericho Nograles, an author of the measure.

"When approved on third reading, it will be an enrolled bill for the action of the President. He may sign, veto any or all provisions, or not act on the measure for it to lapse into law," he said.

Terrorism defined

The measure defines terrorism as an act committed by a person within or outside the Philippines who engages in activities intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endanger's a person's life, and to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property.

Terrorism is likewise committed by a person who engages in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure, and develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies, or uses weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical weapons.

Under the measure, any person who will threaten to commit terrorism will be imprisoned for 12 years. The same jail term will be imposed on those who will propose any terroristic act or incite others to commit terrorism.

At the same time, any person who will volunteer or join any organization, association or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization will also be imprisoned for 12 years. The same penalty will be imposed on any person found liable as an accessory in the commission of terrorism.

The measure not only places Filipino nationals who may join terrorist organizations outside the country under Philippine jurisdiction but also ensures that foreign terrorists do not use the country as a transit point for terrorist activities.

It also removes the provision on payment of P500,000 damages per day of detention of any person acquitted of terrorism charges.

The number of days a suspected person can be detained without a warrant of arrest, however, is set to 14 days and can be extended by 10 days.

The measure mandates certain Regional Trial Courts be designated as Anti-Terror Courts in order to ensure the speedy disposition of cases.

It also allows the police or the military to conduct a 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists, and can be lengthened to another non-extendable period of 30 days if a judicial authorization has been secured from the Court of Appeals.

Any law enforcement or military personnel found to have violated the rights of the accused persons will face a jail sentence of 10 years.

Safeguards

To douse concerns of possible abuse by authorities, the measure mandates that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) be notified in case of detention of a suspected terrorist.

It also tasks the CHR to give the highest priority to the investigation and prosecution of violations of civil and political rights of persons and to have the concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute public officials, law enforcers and other persons who may have violated the rights of suspects and detained persons.

The House Minority bloc has filed a resolution expressing their opposition to the swift approval of the measure "without sufficient time to intelligently deliberate on serious penal provisions and its grave implications."

However, the resolution was only read on first reading earlier in the day.

Concerns have been raised that the proposed measure might be used to target individuals that expressed dissent against the government.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers also surmised that its passage will worsen the climate of impunity “that has made the Philippines fertile ground for extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, and crackdowns against activists and progressive organizations and even ordinary citizens.”

PBA party-list Representative Jericho Nograles, however, assured that the proposed law is not against activists, saying that it only targets terrorists and violent extremists.

"Ang bill na ito ay hindi kontra aktibista. No, we want activism. We promote activism. Ang totoo nga dito ang bill na ito, dahil sa mga aktibista," he said.

"Gusto natin na yung mga aktibista mabigyan ng mga mapayapang paraan para mag-campaign ng mga reforms para sa ating bansa. Pero ang kinakalaban ng ating panukalang batas, ang mga terrorists. Sila ang ating kalaban. And mga violent extremists and mga violent na radical," he added.

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/controversial-new-anti-terrorism-bill-now-up-for-dutertes-signature/ar-BB14Y3il?ocid=spartandhp#image=1

 

 

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What Makes the Anti-Terrorism Bill So Alarming?

On June 1, President Duterte certified as urgent the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The House of Representatives acted swiftly on its passage, approving the measure on its second reading and rejected all attempts to introduce amendments to the bill.

Human rights groups and lawyers have denounced the bill, calling it repressive, while others criticized the government for prioritizing such a measure while the Philippines has yet to contain its COVID-19 epidemic. The following provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act are being flagged by human rights advocates.

1| Suspected 'terrorists' can be arrested without a warrant.
You could get arrested and detained for 14 days if you were suspected of being a terrorist. Your detention can be extended for another 10 days in the name of preserving evidence and preventing terrorist attacks by you.

2| Cabinet officials can order arrests.
An Anti-Terror Council will be formed and will have the power to tag people as terrorists and order arrests. This power is typically reserved for the courts.

3| Government can spy on people.
The government can surveil and wiretap anyone for 60 days, as long as it informs the courts and files charges. People under surveillance will have already been arrested and detained for 14 days if they were tagged as suspected terrorists, but will be further surveilled after their release. As a result, everyone in contact with the suspected person will also have their right to privacy infringed on.

4| There is a broad definition of 'terror.'
Anyone who provokes or intimidates the government can be tagged as a terrorist. By this definition, anyone who expresses dissent to the government could be labeled as a terrorist. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, terrorism is committed when you engage in certain acts, regardless of the stage of execution, for the purpose of intimidating the whole or a segment of the general public and creating an "atmosphere of fear" to:

  • provoke or influence [through] intimidation the government or any of its international organizations;
  • seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic, or social structures of the country;
  • create a public emergency; or,
  • seriously undermine public safety.

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/what-makes-the-anti-terrorism-bill-so-alarming/ar-BB14XAIM?ocid=spartandhp

 

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Dafey

 

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Anti-terror bill inspires post-ECQ mobilization of militants

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Three days into the eased lockdown in Metro Manila, militant groups delivered an opening salvo of street action when they marched at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City to protest the anti-terrorism bill. 

Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the groups called for the junking of the law, saying it will only be used to quell activists and critics airing legitimate concerns.

Congress is expected to approve an amended version, which was earlier certified urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

House Bill 6857, which will repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, allows warrantless arrest and surveillance on people based on suspicion that they are involved in terrorist activities.

Under the measure, any person who will threaten to commit terrorism will be imprisoned for 12 years. The same jail term will be imposed on those who will propose any terroristic act or incite others to commit terrorism.

It also removes the provision on payment of P500,000 damages per day of detention of any person acquitted of terrorism charges.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said the anti-terror bill is “as good as passed.”

The House of Representatives has approved the bill on second reading.

In a statement, “Panday Sining,” one of the groups who joined the protest, slammed Duterte regime for giving attention to the bill amid the COVID-19 health crisis.

Artists, cultural workers among the most vulnerable amid ‘Terror Bill’ passage—Panday Sining Earlier today, progressive...

Posted by Panday Sining on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

“Despite hunger and mental disquiet over insufficient COVID-19 response, Duterte opted to certify the ‘Terror Bill’ as urgent to trample on the peoples’ rights," Stef Melendres, Panday Sining national spokesperson, said.

“Having the bill marked as ‘urgent’ over mass testing and aid distribution is as good as saying you prioritize keeping yourself in power over keeping your people alive,” Melendres added.

She said artists and cultural workers were among the most vulnerable sectors with the bill’s looming passage.

“Artists make a living from creatively interpreting reality, and when reality is tragic and grim, it is inevitable to be exposing the state’s gross negligence and impunity. Under the bill, art production may then be considered a terroristic act. Artists are not terrorists,” Melendres said.

On Tuesday, human rights lawyers have raised concerns on the possibility that the proposed law may be used to stifle dissent against the administration and usher in a series of human rights abuses.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, author and sponsor of the bill, said concerns on the proposed measure were considered when it was being crafted and that there are "enough safeguards" against abuses.

Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said the bill does not infringe on the public’s constitutional right to free expression and press freedom.

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/anti-terror-bill-inspires-post-ecq-mobilization-of-militants/ar-BB14XP02?ocid=spartandhp

 

 

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Headshot
4 hours ago, Dafey said:

The measure defines terrorism as an act committed by a person within or outside the Philippines who engages in activities intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endanger's a person's life, and to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property.

So, would destroying pristine reefs to build artificial islands qualify as a terrorist act under this clause?

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Dafey
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‘Watch out!’ Sotto warns anti-terror bill critics days after assuring them they wouldn’t be tagged as terrorists

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Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Wednesday tweeted a warning to the critics of the proposed anti-terror bill after it was passed to Malacañang on Monday despite his previous assurance that it wouldn’t target dissenters and protesters.

The Duterte administration ally in a series of tweets hit critics who have been asking the chief executive to veto the highly controversial measure seen to potentially stifle dissent and curtail constitutionally-protected civil liberties.

“Ganun ganun na lang kung murahin nila si PRRD, ngayon nananawagan sila sa kanya?” Sotto wrote on Wednesday morning.

Academic institutions, various groups, activists and vocal critics of President Rodrigo Duterte have been urging him to veto the Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020 following its transmittal to his office.

Sotto also shared a quote on his Twitter account and added a remark. The quote reads:

“Respect is an important element of personality. Whatever you give to others will return to you, with profit.” 

Sotto added: “Ganun din sa disrespect! Watch out!”

His remarks were not well-received by Filipinos who pointed out that “respect is earned, not demanded.”

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/watch-out-sotto-warns-anti-terror-bill-critics-days-after-assuring-them-they-wouldn-t-be-tagged-as-terrorists/ar-BB15inwF?ocid=msedgdhp

 

 

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RogerDuMond

It doesn't sound that controversial to me.

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rizla

Always think viewing any Asian laws/bills through western eyes is dangerous.

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Dafey
2 hours ago, RogerDuMond said:

It doesn't sound that controversial to me.

At first I thought the same but there are very few limitations to the PNPs or Army's authority in this. If you're a foreigner and you speak your mind about the Philippines, (even on this forum), you should be concerned about this bill.

 

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rizla
1 hour ago, Dafey said:

At first I thought the same but there are very few limitations to the PNPs or Army's authority in this. If you're a foreigner and you speak your mind about the Philippines, (even on this forum), you should be concerned about this bill.

 

Then best not to bitch and moan about a country in which you are a guest, if the laws don't appeal to you simply leave for a country where you can accept the laws.

I don't see a problem. In fact the opposite, it may encourage more new members if the constant complaints about The Philippines are stopped in LinC, and the forum reverts back to being a very useful guide to living in Cebu.

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Salty Dog
23 hours ago, rizla said:

Then best not to bitch and moan about a country in which you are a guest, if the laws don't appeal to you simply leave for a country where you can accept the laws.

I don't see a problem. In fact the opposite, it may encourage more new members if the constant complaints about The Philippines are stopped in LinC, and the forum reverts back to being a very useful guide to living in Cebu.

It's best not to bitch and moan about a forum in which you are a guest. If the rules don't appeal to you, simply leave the forum for one where you can accept the rules...:biggrin_01:

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