Anti-Terrorism Act approved, awaits President’s signature

The Anti-Terrorism Act or House Bill No. 6875 has been approved by at the House of Representatives last June 3, 2020. The bill, which mirrors the previously passed Senate version, only needs the signature of the President to be fully enacted and implemented.

With 173 affirmative votes, 31 negative votes, and 29 abstentions, the House of Representatives approve House Bill No. 6875 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The law primarily aims to prevent and stop acts of terror in the country by preempting acts of suspicion and other indicators as cited in the proposed legislation.

The Anti-Terrorism Act allows law enforcement agencies to carry warrantless arrest on suspected terrorists who are found in the act activities defined under Section 4 of the said act which includes damaging government properties or facilities; illegal involvement with the supply, distribution, or manufacturing of weapons; assault; and support to terrorist organizations.

Life imprisonment without parole shall be imposed on people found guilty in participating in terrorist acts while a 12-year imprisonment shall be imposed on those who will propose or incite others to commit terrorist acts as well as those who voluntarily join tagged organizations.

Law enforcement agencies would also be allowed to wiretap and obtain private information on suspected individuals upon order of the Court of Appeals. The Act also penalizes law enforcement personnel who are found guilty in the violation of accused people’s rights with imprisonment of 10 years.

Last February 26, the Senate of the Philippines voted 19-2 in favor of their version of the bill, Senate Bill No. 1083 which repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 citing the need of a strong legal structure that deals with terrorism to exact accountability, liability and responsibility.

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