“Let’s just say that the public interest on the bill will make the President review the provisions of the bill even closer,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said as calls from groups and personalities to junk the anti-terror bill grow louder.
The controversial bill, now passed on both chambers of the Congress, is awaiting the president’s signature before becoming a law. Several progressive groups and experts have been continuously lobbying for its review.
When asked directly if there was a chance the President would sign the bill despite calls to junk or revise it, Roque said, “The President did certify (it) as urgent so he agrees with the principal author of the bill, Senator Ping Lacson, that there is a need for the law.”
Roque confirmed that a copy of the bill was transmitted to Malacañang on Tuesday and that the legal department of the Office of the Executive Secretary has started reviewing its provisions.
He also emphasized the role of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in reviewing the contentious provisions.
“The DOJ is still the legal adviser of the President even if he has his own Legal Office within Malacañang itself,” Roque said.
Under the anti-terrorism bill, persons who shall threaten to commit terrorism, and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall suffer imprisonment of 12 years.
Suspected persons can be detained for 14 days without a warrant of arrest with an allowable 10-day extension.
A 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists can also be conducted by the police or the military, with an allowable 30-day extension.
The opposition and progressive groups have strongly opposed the passage of the measure in Congress over concerns that it would further erode human rights in the country.