Protesters gather at the University of the Philippine Diliman campus on June 12, 2020 to call for the veto of the anti-terrorism bill. Dumlao
Ateneo, La Salle leaders renew call to junk anti-terror bill
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - July 3, 2020 - 4:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — The leaders of Ateneo and La Salle schools once again called on President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the “ill-timed” anti-terrorism bill, which is feared to “wrongly impair sacred constitutional rights” of the people. 

The heads of some of the biggest Catholic educational institutions in the country issued another joint statement Friday, reiterating their strong opposition to the proposed anti-terrorism legislation.

This, after Malacañang said Thursday the controversial bill is now with the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. If Duterte would not veto the bill, it would automatically lapse into law on July 9 and repeal the Human Security Act of 2007—a law that is “already problematic,” according to United Nations human rights office.

“We reiterate our call for the president to the pleas of our people who are already burdened by the pandemic and to veto this particular version of the bill before it automatic lapses into law on July 9, 2020,” the Jesuit priests and La Salle brothers said.

“Once more, we also express our commitment to work with the government to craft a better version of the bill, and other legislation, that can uproot terrorism, while still addressing the people’s concerns about their basic rights. By doing so, we will not be divided by terrorism,” they added.

In an earlier statement on June 5, the leaders of Ateneo and La Salle schools stressed the proposed measure “adds to the people’s anxieties and fear,” noting there are provisions in the bill that are sweeping and can be easily subject to misinterpretation and abuse.

They also said the government should instead focus its efforts and resources on fighting the spread of the virus and its effects to the public.

Duterte can only enact the anti-terrorism bill or veto it as a whole as the Constitution only allows line-item veto in appropriation, revenue or tariff bills. This means he must veto the whole anti-terrorism even if only one provisions fails the constitutionality test. — with report from Kristine Joy Patag

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