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Sotto assures anti-terror bill can’t be used to ‘harass, silence’ gov’t critics

/ 11:57 AM February 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday gave assurance to those critical of the government that the new anti-terrorism bill recently approved by the upper chamber cannot be used to harass and silence them.

“Let me also assure our friends and allies critical of the government that this measure cannot be used to harass and silence them,” Sotto said in a statement.

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The Senate president made the assurance as opposition groups warned that the said bill may be used by the government to silence dissent.

But Sotto, one of the proponents of the bill, assured that there are “sufficient safeguards in the legislation that bars law enforcers from abusing the law and using it to persecute those who are perceived to be political enemies of the State.”

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He said what the measure seeks for is to be able to “bring peace of mind and heart among Filipinos that they are safe from the menace of terrorists.”

“The threat of nefarious individuals disrupting our peaceful lives is something that we all fear about, but is something that lawmakers can do something about,” Sotto said.

“The approval by the Senate of the new Anti-Terror Act comes at the most opportune time as the government moves to strengthen its security forces in their determined fight against international and local terrorism,” he added.

Sotto explained that the said bill would guarantee that “those who will be part of bringing terror among our people will be made accountable and punished for their actions, and we remain hopeful that the punitive and legal sanctions will discourage our people, especially the young, from giving up their freedoms and joining the cause of terrorist groups.”

“I am confident that this measure will help make our country safe from global and local threats, and help make true our ultimate prayer of peace for our families and love ones,” he added.

Edited by EDV

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TAGS: anti-terror law, Human Security Act of 2007, Sen President Vicente Sotto III, Senate, Senate Bill No. 1083
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