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To Sen. Sotto, #JunkTerrorBill protestors are now “epal”

To Sen. Sotto, #JunkTerrorBill protestors are now “epal”

Following the vocal response over the Anti-Terrorism Bill, Senate President Vicente Sotto III has something to say about the #JunkTerrorBill crowd: “Daming epal.”

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo as reported by Inquirer, the senator voiced out his opinion regarding critics of the infamous bill. “Napakaraming naririnig at nababasa sa social media na mukhang hindi naiintindihan eh, katakot-takot na pintas. Hindi nila alam itong anti-terrorism bill na bago. Ang daming epal, ika nga. Tapos ang dami namang pumipintas, ‘yung pinipintas nila wala doon sa bill.” Sen. Sotto also tweeted the same sentiments.

According to Sotto, he consulted the Supreme Court’s former justices to ensure that it conforms to the Constitution. If signed, any questions regarding its legality should be raised before the Supreme Court.

The senate president says that the only people who should fear the bill are terrorists who mean harm, including their supporters. “Napakaraming safeguards pero mahigpit sa terorista. Ang dapat matakot lang dito, ang terorista at ’yung sumusuporta sa terorista. Pero kung taongbayan, karaniwang Pilipino, walang dapat ikatakot dito.”

He also claims that the bill isn’t supposed to restrict public expression. “Hindi basta nanggugulo sa kanto… At tsaka ’yung terrorism dito as defined does not include advocacy, protest, dissent, ’yung mga strike strike, industrial or mass action and other exercise of civil and political rights. Hindi kasali ’yun. Maliwanag ’yun.” However, some human rights groups are saying the contrary, stating that the bill’s definitions are “vague” and “prone to abuse.”

“Epal” or not, #JunkTerrorBill protestors continue to speak out on the issue—the very act they’re fighting for, without fear of anyone condemning them for criticizing their government. You can read about the bill’s definition with our breakdown here.

Read more:
What does the Anti-Terrorism Bill mean for activists?
Harry Roque tries really, really hard to assure us that the Anti-Terrorism Bill won’t hurt freedom of speech
These lawmakers need to know your stand on the Anti-Terrorism Bill

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