WATCH: Duterte tells law-abiding citizens not to fear Anti-Terrorism Law

Gaea Katreena Cabico, EC Toledo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:06 a.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte, for the first time after signing the Anti-Terrorism Law, addresses the public saying law-abiding citizens should not fear the Anti-Terrorism Law.

"Huwag ho kayong matakot kung hindi ka terorista. Kung hindi ka naman sisirain mo ang gobyerno, pasabugin mo ang simbahan, pasabugin mo 'yung public utilities, pasabugin mo 'yung, just to derail, matumba na tuloy ang bayan," he said on his public address aired early Wednesday.

(Do not be afraid if you are not a terrorist. If you will not destroy the government, blow up the church, blow up public utilities, blow up just to derail, the nation will go down.)

Last week, Duterte signed the contentious anti-terrorism bill into law, which is feared to be used as a tool to stifle dissent and target opponents of the government.

Critics of the legislation—which include lawyers, rights groups, members of the academe and environmentalists—said the vague and overly broad definition of terrorism and terrorist acts will infringe on people’s basic rights and fundamental freedoms.

They also sounded alarm on the extended period of detention without warrant and the powers given to the Anti-Terrorism Council. The ATC is a special body composed of presidential appointees that will permit law enforcement authorities to arrest people it designates as terrorists.

“This law precisely creates a climate of fear, sends a chilling effect on those who wish to express their legitimate grievances, state their aspirations, and wish to engage in open and democratic debate, and threatens the rights of associations who may wish to dissent and question the actuations of those in power,” the framers of the 1987 Constitution said in a statement Monday.

At least four separate petitions at the Supreme Court called for the implementation of the controversial law to be halted. The high court ordered the government to comment on the petitions.

The measure is expected to take effect on July 18.

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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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