Duterte’s spokesperson defends Anti-Terrorism Bill

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Malacañang assures the public that the proposed Anti-Terrorism bill would not infringe on rights of the Filipinos amid calls against its passage.

“We established jurisprudence on freedom of expression and the only way that government can curtail freedom of expression is if there is a clear and present danger that the State has a right to prevent,” said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.

Critics of the said bill fear it could be used to suppress free speech and harass those who challenge the administration. This is amplified by the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte commands a legislative majority and influence within the judiciary and state institutions.

House Bill No. 6875, which amends the Human Security Act of 2007 as urgent, seeks to “strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to inadequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

Roque also defended Duterte’s timing, saying that the bill has been pending for 4 years. Opponents voices out their fear of this administration’s crackdown against critics who point out the flaws of the government’s COVID-19 response plan.

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