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Duterte certifies as urgent bill seeking to strengthen anti-terror law

President Rodrigo Duterte has called for the swift passage of the bill seeking to strengthen the government’s fight against terrorism as Congress is set to adjourn session on June 3.

Duterte certified House Bill 6875, which aims to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 as urgent, according to the President’s letter to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday. The House bill reportedly adopted the Senate version that was passed in February.

Once a bill is certified as urgent, Congress can skip the three-day rule, allowing lawmakers to pass a measure on third reading immediately after it is passed on second reading. The final version of the bill will then be sent to Duterte for his signature.

Concerns have been raised that the proposed measure might be used to target individuals that expressed dissent against the government.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers also surmised that its passage will worsen the climate of impunity “that has made the Philippines fertile ground for extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, and crackdowns against activists and progressive organizations and even ordinary citizens.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, however, said on Monday that the criticisms against the bill had no basis.

He said there will be penalties for law enforcers who will abuse their authority. -NB, GMA News