Senate pushes for passage of new anti-terrorism law

The Senate wants to push the passage of the proposed Senate Bill 2204 Anti-Terrorism Act before the end of the 17th Congress’ remaining session days.

“In the proposed measure, we are proposing a 14-working day period of detention without extension,” Senator Panfilo Lacson, one of the bill’s proponents, said.

Under the present law, a person arrested for violating the provisions of the Human Security Law could be detained for three days without charge. No liability shall be given to the arresting officer under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

“The proposal to extend the period of detention was reached after a lengthy review of our neighboring countries’ policies and laws for countering terrorism,” Lacson said.

In Indonesia, implicated terrorists can be detained for 21 up to 200 days, in Malaysia, 60 days up to two years, and in Singapore, an indefinite period.

The proposed measure also removed the hefty mandatory payment of P500,000 per day for an unproven charge of terrorism.

“By removing this, we hope that our law enforcement authorities will now have the courage to fully execute the provisions of the law without fear of being slapped with this exorbitant fine,” Lacson said.

Any of the following unlawful acts are classified as terrorism under the bill:

a) Attacks that cause death or serious bodily injury to any person;

b) Attacks that cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, critical infrastructure, public place or private property likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss;

b) Manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply or use of weapons, explosives or biological or chemical weapons as well as research into and development of, biological and chemical weapons; and

c) Release of dangerous substances, or causing fires, floods or explosions the effect of which is to endanger human life.

Senators Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, and Vicente Sotto filed the proposed bill on February 4, 2019.

Along with the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, other major bills the Senate intends to be passed before the 17th Congress’ final exit are the Medical Scholarship Act, amendments to the Public Service Act, the Mindanao Railways Authority Bill, Budget Reform Act, Emergency Powers Act, and Reformation of Children in Conflict with the Law.

“These bills are on the floor already so there’s a big possibility for its passage especially on the second and third reading. One or two may still be at committee report level but it can be passed by first week of June,” Sotto said.

Operating under a reenacted 2018 budget, the Senate passed and ratified several measures before its adjournment on February 8: the Murang Kuryente Act, Automatic Membership for PWDs Act, Student Fare Discount Act, National Integrated Cancer Control Act, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act, and Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act. All were signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

After the May 13 midterm elections, the Senate will continue their hearings on May 20 and adjourn on June 7.

Add Comment