Actor Luis Manzano defends lawmaker mom Vilma Santos for voting for anti-terror bill

Actor Luis Manzano was quick to come to the defense of his mom, former actress and Batangas Congresswoman Vilma Santos, after Filipinos online pounced on the lawmaker for giving the widely criticized anti-terror bill a thumbs up.

Read: Anti-terrorism bill hurdles through Congress, awaits Duterte’s signature

Manzano last night tweeted a statement from Santos in which the 66-year-old said that she was not a principal author of House Bill 6875 and that she voted yes “WITH RESERVATIONS.”

“I have [a] concern about the country’s national policy. I just hope the law enforcement agencies will implement it in accordance with the Constitution, full respect to human rights, and without any abuse whatsoever.”

Some 63 representatives who are the principal authors of the anti-terror bill include pro-government lawmakers Camarines Sur Representative Luis Ray Villafuerte, ACT Partylist Representative Eric Yap, and Antique Representative Loren Legarda.

Critics of the bill have started an online petition against it and spawned the use of the hashtag #Junktheterrorbill on social media. They pointed out that its passage would lead to greater government surveillance, the curtailment of freedoms, and violation of basic human rights.

Far Eastern University Law School dean Mel Sta. Maria, a human rights lawyer, has warned that the bill if signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law, is “dangerous” because it will not give suspected terrorists the right to due process and “will be any despot’s deadly sword.”

Santos, a multi-awarded actress who has been acting since the 1960s, is a much-respected personality in Pinoy entertainment. She’s been semi-retired from showbiz since being elected Batangas’ first female mayor in the late ’90s.

Filipinos online took Santos’ vote as an act of betrayal, such as @mikhantot, who posted stills from the veteran actress’ famous politically-charged films Sister Stella L and Dekada ’70. In scenes from both movies, she is ironically seen with her arms up in protest.

@jjcdizon responded to Manzano’s defense that his mom voted with reservations, tweeting, “She still voted YES, which makes her an ENABLER of fascism and tyranny.”

“When this law becomes a law and it gets abused, the life and freedoms of people are at stake. Vilma Santos played a part in destroying democracy and she will have blood on her hands,” he tweeted.


“[I]f she truly had reservations rooted in constitution and human rights, she should have said NO,” he added. “Her ‘reservations’ and ‘hopes’ that law enforcers will not commit abuses ARE NOTHING.”

An overwhelming 173 lawmakers voted yes to the bill, while 31 voted no, and 29 abstained from the vote.

This article, Actor Luis Manzano defends lawmaker mom Vilma Santos for voting for anti-terror bill, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!