Anti-Terrorism bill gets House approval on second reading

Aileen Cerrudo

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 2) approved the proposed House Bill 6875 or Anti-Terrorism Bill on second reading.

The House panel on public order and safety and on national defense has adopted the Senate’s version of the proposed bill on May 29.

Under HB 6875, a suspect can be detained for 14 days for interrogation even without a warrant of arrest. It can be extended up to 10 days if the Anti-Terrorism Council deemed it necessary.

“Any person who, without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall incite others to the execution of any of the acts specified in Section 4 hereof by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years,” the proposed bill states.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights said the word ‘terrorism’ in the proposed bill is vaguely defined.

“With the vague and overly broad definition, authorities could wantonly tag exercise of rights as terrorist expressions under this Act by even defining the crime of ‘inciting to terrorism’—referring to ‘means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations,” the CHR said in a statement.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill might also pave possible abuse “as it tends to blur the distinction between terroristic activities and ordinary crimes already punishable by the Revised Penal Code and other pertinent laws,” it added.

Amid several lawmakers voicing their concerns about several provisions stated under the proposed bill, Congress was able to get enough votes to pass it on second reading through nominal voting.

PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles clarified the Anti-Terrorism Bill is not against activists but it is against terrorists. Sponsors of HB 6875 also rejected any proposed amendment. –AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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