Duterte: Anti-terrorism bill still under Palace legal team review


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s legal team is still reviewing the controversial anti-terrorism bill that was transmitted to the Palace on June 9.

In a meeting with Cabinet officials aired late Monday night, Duterte explained he still has not “received” it as he had his legal team review it.

“It’s always—that’s automatic. When it comes to me, I endorse it to legal. Without even reading it actually, if you—if you want to really know,” he added.

The proposed new anti-terrorism bill reached the Duterte’s desk on June 9, starting the 30-day clock for presidential action on it. The chief executive has three options: Sign the bill that he marked as urgent into law, veto it, or let it sit until July 9 and it will automatically lapse into law.

The Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel submitted its review mere days after he Congress transmitted the enrolled, or final, copy of the bill to the Office of the President.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said his office recommended the signing of the anti-terrorism bill, as it is “effective in combating terrorism” and has passed the constitutional test.

Panelo’s review of the bill is in contrast with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, lawyers groups and law academe as they warned of the constitutional infirmities found in the proposed new measure.

The Department of Justice also conducted a constitutional review of the controversial anti-terrorism bill. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they sent their recommendations to the Palace last Wednesday, June 17.

A copy of DOJ’s review has yet to be made public, as Guevarra left it to the Palace to disclose it, citing confidentiality.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday that they are waiting for recommendations from the Office of the Executive Secretary.

RELATED: Infirmities that rights expert flagged in Human Security Act also in anti-terrorism bill

Duterte: Communists are our number one problem

In the same meeting, where the government gave updates on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte said communists are the number one threat to the country.

“Terrorism is number one in our list. Actually, the number one threat to the country is not the Abu Sayyaf, not the terrorists of no value, but these high value targets, the communists,” the president said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Duterte said that terrorists and the Communist Party of the Philippines are giving the government “no respite” despite the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.

He also warned: “I want to tell you, that I wish we do not reach the point where I have to—kill you.”

There is a pending plea to have the members of the CPP declared as terrorists before a Manila court.

The Duterte administration has been criticized for “railroading” the passage of the anti-terrorism bill while tens of thousands of Filipinos contract the deadly coronavirus. — Kristine Joy Patag

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 22, 2022 - 8:18am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 3 despite opposition from rights groups and civil society groups that it could be used to stifle human rights.

A petition against the law has been filed at the Supreme Court and other groups are preparing pleadings of their own.

Follow this page for updates. Photo courtesy of The STAR/Michael Varcas 

June 22, 2022 - 8:18am

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon moves to block access to several websites, including news sites of alternative news orrganizations Bulatlat.com and Pinoyweekly.org.

In his letter to the National Telecommunications Commission, he only says the websites are "affiliated to and are supporting these terrorists and terrorist organizations."

No other basis to back up his allegation was cited in the letter.

December 12, 2021 - 1:10pm

The Commission on Human Rights says it "partly welcomes" the Supreme Court decision that some parts of the controversial Anti-terrorism Law are unconstitutional.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia says the commission remains hopeful that the remaining contentious provisions of the law will be clarified by the high cour in the full text of the decision.

"At the same time, our commitment remains in guarding against possible human rights violations arising from the implementation of the anti-terror law. We steadfastly remind the government that countering terrorism and protecting human rights are not competing values but are, in fact, mutual and complementary," De Guia says in a statement.

December 7, 2021 - 7:10pm

The Supreme Court has deliberated and voted on the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act but the decision will be released "at the soonest time possible."

"However, considering that there were numerous issues resolved in the case, as well as the fact that each Justice had to vote on each issue, there is a need to accurately confirm and tally the vote of each Justice in order to ensure the correct resolution of the Court per issue," SC spokesperson Brian Hosaka says.

July 19, 2021 - 8:33am

The Anti-Terrorism Council designates the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the panel that negotiates for communist rebels during peace talks a terrorist organization.

Previous designation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army led to the designation of supposed members of the CPP's Central Committee. Among those designated as terorrists were peace consultants.

Designation gives the Anti-Terrorism Council the authority to investigate and freeze the accounts of designated persons.

May 13, 2021 - 9:06am

The Anti-Terrorism Council has designated 29 people, including alleged members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army, as terrorists in two resolutions.

Designation allows the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of those on the list. 


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