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These lawmakers need to know your stand on the Anti-Terrorism Bill

Last May 29, the House Committees on Public Order and Safety and on National Defense and Security came to a joint decision to adopt an unnumbered version of the “Anti-Terrorism Bill.

The latest version of the bill widens the definition of terrorism to anyone who commits a terrorist act (i.e. “cause death or serious bodily injury to any person”; “cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility or private property”; “develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies or uses weapons”; “release of dangerous substances”) with terrorist motivations (i.e. “intimidate the general public”; “create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear”; “provoke or influence by intimidation the government”; “seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, economic or social structures of the country”; “create a public emergency”), either as an accessory or as the instigator. 

The Anti-Terrorism Bill also exempts law enforcers from “liability for illegal detention or failing to present an arrested person to a court with the prescribed period,” writes Inquirer.

During the joint House Committee session, only two Representatives voted no: Bayan Muna Party-List Representative Carlos Zarate and Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Cristopher “Kit” Belmonte.

Protesters have been up in arms online against the bill, making #JunkTerrorBill trend. Law experts such as congresswoman Sarah Elago and Free Legal Assistance Group chairman Chel Diokno have expressed concerns about the bill.

“Posible ngang gamitin ito para habulin ang mga kritiko ng administrasyon, just like this administration and previous administrations have used inciting to sedition to go after critics of the administration,” said Diokno in a tweet after his review of the bill. 

Elago has also been tweeting #JunkTerrorBill, highlighting the bill’s provisions stating that law enforcers will be empowered to make warrantless arrests and conduct a 60- to 90- day wiretapping period. “It has no safeguards for the protection of human rights, redress of grievances. This can be weaponized to silence critics, suppress dissent,” says Elago.

Last May 31, a statement from National Defense & Security Committee Vice Chairperson Ruffy Biazon circulated on Twitter via political columnist Francis Baraan IV. Biazon highlighted a supposed safeguard for abuse within the bill: “…terrorism shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar civil or political rights…” stated in section four of the bill.

Today, President Duterte certified the bill as urgent. In a letter to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte states that the government needs to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

A democratic country like ours needs the voice of its people to be heard before anything else. If you have concerns or contentions with the bill, exercising your right to speak up is very much a valid option—so here are the Anti-Terrorism Bill authors’ channels where you can send thoughts their way before the next plenary debates.

House Representatives

Biazon, Rozzano Rufino B.

Muntinlupa City, Lone District | HB 551 author

Twitter: @ruffybiazon

Facebook: @officialruffybiazon

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7996

Direct: 8442-4205

Nograles, Jericho Jonas B.

PBA Party List | HB 2082 author

Facebook: @KokoNogPH

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7019

Direct: 8951-8945

Villafuerte, Luis Raymund “Lray” Jr F. 

Camarines Sur, 2nd District | HB 2847 author

Twitter: @lrayvillafuerte

Facebook: @lray.villafuerte.1

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7499

Direct: 8931-6718

Romero, Michael Odylon L.

1-Pacman Party List | HB 3103 author

Twitter: @MikeeRomeroPhD

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7411

Direct: 8931-5711

Tulfo, Jocelyn P.

ACT-CIS Party List | HB 3413 author

Facebook: @JocelynTulfoInAction

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7395

Direct: 8931-5388

Yap, Eric G.

ACT-CIS Party List | HB 3413 author

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7234

Direct: 8931-6317

Taduran, Rowena Niña O.

ACT-CIS Party List | HB 3413 author

Facebook: @SimplyNinaTaduran

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7436

Direct: 8931-2830

Bolilia, Lianda B.

Batangas, 4th District | HB 5710 author

Facebook: @alagangsilinglabuyo

Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7716

Direct: 8932-7701

The bill has already passed Senate, but in case of the need for a bicameral conference committee, Senate members may need to intervene should there be conflicting provisions between the Congress and Senate version.

Sotto III, Vicente C.

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @teamsottoako

Twitter: @sotto_tito

Direct Line/s: (632) 8-804-0270 / (632) 8-552-6813 / (632) 8-552-6691

Lacson, Panfilo “Ping” M.

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @PingLacsonOfficial

Twitter: @IamPingLacson

Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 70 local nos. 5790, 8617

Marcos, Imee R.

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @ImeeMarcos

Twitter: @SenImeeMarcos

Direct Line/s: (632) 8-286-0970 / (632) 8-285-9960

Lapid, Manuel “Lito” M.

Email: [email protected]

Trunk Line/s: (632) 8-552-6601 to 70 local nos. 6540 / 8610

Revilla Jr., Ramon Bong

Email: [email protected] / senbongrevillajr.ph

Facebook: @bongrevillajrph

Trunk Lines: (632) 8-552-6601 to 70 local nos. 2537 to 2539 / 8512

Dela Rosa, Ronald “Bato”

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @OFFICIALPAGEofRonaldBatoDelaRosa

Trunk Lines: (632) 8-552 6601 local nos. 5614 / 5617 / 8611

Art by Kristine Paz-Yap

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