Hontiveros has ‘no regrets’ opposing anti-terror law amid Sulu blasts
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros said Thursday she has no regrets in not supporting the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, with the recent twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu that killed 15 individuals and injured 75 others.
“No regrets and my position on that has been clear,” she told ABS-CBN News Channel when asked if she has any regrets about not voting for the passage of the then anti-terror bill in the Senate.
“While we should bear down heavily against terrorists, I cited before in our interpellations and period of amendments provisions of the then bill that I believe and still believe were overreaching and could be used by the government even against non-terrorists,” she said.
Voting 19-2, the Senate approved in February the then anti-terror bill that sought to toughen the country’s policies against terrorism. Only Hontiveros and Senator Francis Pangilinan voted against the measure.
Hontiveros pointed out that the old Human Security Act had provisions that would have enabled the military in conducting intelligence work on the two suicide bombers that caused the explosions in Jolo on August 24.
Hontiveros made this remark after pro-administration Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, former Philippine National Police chief, asked critics of the anti-terror law if they have yet to outgrow their “imagined threats” under the measure, citing the Jolo bombings.
“To the critics, I dare ask this question: with the recent Jolo bombing, have you not realized that terrorism is indeed in our midst, with its clear, imminent and present danger, ready to devour anyone in its path?” he said.
“Ano ba talaga ang mas matimbang sa inyo, yung inyong imagined threat na pwedeng gagawin ng gobyerno laban sa mga kritiko, or itong real, clear and present danger na makikita natin na nagkalasog-lasog na katawan ng ating mga sundalo, policemen at mga sibilyan,” Dela Rosa added.
(What matters to you more, your imagined threat on what the government may do to its critics, or this real, clear and present danger that we are seeing now with the bodies of our soldiers, policemen, and civilians all torn up?)
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