President Rodrigo Duterte will be “guided by what is best” for the country amid calls for the government to junk the bill seeking to strengthen the anti-terror law, Malacañang said Monday.
“The President is always guided by what is best for the country. Wala naman pong desisyon na walang tumututol talaga. Basta ito po ay makakatulong sa mas nakakarami sa atin, susuportahan po iyan ng Presidente,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
Duterte had certified the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 as urgent, paving the way for Congress to pass the bill before it adjourned session last week.
Critics of the bill have expressed concern that the measure could empower the government to stifle legitimate dissent with the United Nations’ human rights body warning that it dilutes human rights safeguards, broadens the definition of terrorism and extends the period of detention without warrant to up to 24 days.
Terrorism does not include "advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights, which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person's life, or to create a serious risk to public safety," according to the bill.
Roque said the Office of the Executive Secretary reviews proposed laws awaiting the President’s signature.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is also reviewing the bill despite the Office of the President not having requested the DOJ’s comments yet. —LDF, GMA News