Roque: Duterte OK with pre-trial detention up to 24 days under anti-terrorism bill
File photo shows presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The STAR/Joven Cagande
Roque: Duterte OK with pre-trial detention up to 24 days under anti-terrorism bill
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 24, 2020 - 11:30am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte sees no problem with provision on detention without a warrant, which can last up to 24 days, on the anti-terrorism bill — the provision cited by legal experts as unconstitutional — his spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“As a trial fiscal, there’s one issue that he has no problems with and that is pre-trial detention,” Roque said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart on Wednesday.

The presidential spokesperson, also a former rights laywer, noted that under the existing Revised Penal Code, a pre-trial detention of up to 36 hours is allowed. “That is for the purpose of preventing evasion of extraction of evidence,” Roque said.

Roque noted that after the pre-trial detention, which can be up to 24 days, a judge will be notified. “It is still the court that will issue a warrant of arrest for the purposes of actually arresting him for the purpose of the court acquiring jurisdiction over the person,” he added.

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

Law experts flagged 24-day detention as unconstitutional

Roque was referring to Section 29 of the proposed new anti-terrorism law, where law enforcers may be authorized by the Anti-Terrorism Council—another provision that law experts flagged—to detain a person suspected of committing terrorism for 14 days, extendible by another ten days.

But law experts have been pointing out that a pre-trial detention of 14 to 24 days without a judicial charge is unconstitutional.

Under the Rules of Criminal Procedure, a person arrested without a warrant when he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; if a crime has just been committed; or if the person is an escaped prisoner. Without a warrant, detention for a grave offense may last for 36 hours.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which the Office of the President asked for comments on the bill, argued that even in extraordinary circumstances of the presence of invasion and rebellion, the Constitution still set a three-day maximum limit of detentions without judicial charge.

RELATED: In reply to Palace request for comment on anti-terrorism bill, IBP urges veto

Roque maintained that the president is “inclined to” sign the anti-terrorism bill into law, noting that Duterte marked this bill as urgent.

But he also pointed out that Duterte publicly announced that the bill is under review. Roque said that Duterte would probably take one to two days, from receiving recommendations of his legal team at the Palace, to decide whether to sign it or not.

READ: Carpio warns: Situation 'worse than martial law' under anti-terrorism law

“Barring constitutional infirmities, he is inclined to sign it but he wants to see the bill want to make a personal determination,” the presidential spokesperson said.

The window time for veto on the bill will end on July 9, or 30 days from when the proposed measure reached Duterte’s desk. If the president would not veto the bill, it would automatically lapse into law.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with