Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will start its review of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020’s provisions on grounds of constitutionality, in a statement last June 6, 2020. The bill, which the Congress has yet to pass to the Office of the President, has raised concerns regarding its provisions especially on its overbroad definition of “terrorism”.
It is aimed to reinforce the Human Security Act of 2007 by penalizing individuals who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; including those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization as identified by the proposed Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) which would consist of members appointed by the executive branch.
One of the bill’s provisions allows for suspected terrorists to be detained for 14 days, extendable for 10 days, without warrant. It also provides that any person found guilty of threatening to commit, propose, or incite others to commit terrorism shall be imprisoned for 12 years. The bill also dismisses the provision of PHP 500,000 per day of wrongful detainment penalty for law-enforcement agents.
The House of Representatives adopted the Senate’s version of the bill and has rejected all proposed amendments, which fast-tracked the bill’s passage. On June 1, President Rodrigo Duterte certified the bill as urgent, saying the necessity of its immediate enactment is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare,” in a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
The House approved the anti-terror bill on its third and final reading last June 3, with 173 votes in favor, 31 against, and 29 abstained; finally awaiting its passage to the Office of the President for signing.
LAYOUT BY: Laiza Simeoune B. Sanchez
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Rappler.com, ABS-CBN News, Atinito News, umnews.org, Asian Journal