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It’s final: Anti-Terror Bill now only needs Duterte’s signature

/ 06:18 PM June 03, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The controversial Anti-Terror Bill now only needs to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte after an overwhelming 173 lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted in support of the passage of the measure.

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With only 31 negative votes and 29 abstentions, the lower chamber approved on final reading House Bill No. 6875 which seeks to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 for deliberation.

Before the bill reached the plenary floor in House, two committees in the lower chamber adopted—and eventually approved—the Senate version of the bill in a move to possibly hasten its passage by avoiding the bicameral conference committee to settle the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill.

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On Tuesday, the lower chamber approved the Anti-Terror Bill on second reading after merely hours of deliberations.

During the period of individual amendments before the second reading approval of the bill, all proposed amendments were also rejected.

Thus, with no disagreeing provisions with the Senate version, it will now be transmitted to the Office of the President.

“No more bicam. Just a few administrative steps within the legislature then it will be submitted to the President for his signature,” Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon told INQUIRER.net.

What the bill says

The bill penalizes those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

According to the bill, any person who shall threaten to commit terrorism, and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall suffer the penalty of 12 years.

Any person who shall voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, shall likewise suffer imprisonment of 12 years. The same penalty shall be imposed on any person found liable as an accessory in the commission of terrorism.

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Meanwhile, those who will be proven guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to commit terrorism shall be penalized by life imprisonment without the benefit of parole.

The bill states that terrorism is committed by a person who within or outside the Philippines, regardless of the stage of execution:

– Engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life;
– Engages in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property;
– Engages in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure;
– Develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transport, supplies or uses weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical weapons; and
– Release of dangerous substances, or causing fire, floods or explosions

The bill also seeks the establishment of Philippine jurisdiction over Filipino nationals who may join and fight with terrorist organizations outside the Philippines and ensure that foreign terrorists do not use the country as a transit point and as a safe haven to plan and train new recruits for terrorist attacks in other countries.

The bill likewise removed the provision on payment of P500,000 damages per day of detention of any person acquitted of terrorism charges.

A suspected person can also be detained without a warrant of arrest for 14 calendar days, extendible by 10 days, according to the bill.

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