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House minority bloc eyes questioning anti-terrorism law before SC

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The House Minority Bloc is looking at the possibility of questioning  before the Supreme Court the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law once enacted, its leader Benny Abante said Wednesday.

Abante led the minority bloc in filing House Resolution 944 expressing their opposition to the swift approval of House Bill 6875 or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law "without sufficient time to intelligently deliberate on serious penal provisions and its grave implications."

After only four hours of deliberations, the chamber approved the measure on second reading on Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the measure as urgent "in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare."

In a virtual press conference, Abante questioned some provisions of the measure which he thinks are against the Constitution.

He cited, for one, the provision under the measure that allows a suspected person for terrorism to be detained without a warrant of arrest for 14 days and can be extended by 10 days.

"Ang tanong namin, sino ang authorized para magkaroon ng warrantless arrest. Sapagkat alam na namin sa Constitution kung ano lang ang mga inaaresto nang walang warrant," Abante said.

He said that a person may only be arrested without warrant if he is about to commit a crime, or if he is currently committing a crime, or if he just committed the crime and he was caught in the act.

"Kaya we are thinking of going to the Supreme Court if ever the Anti-Terrorism Bill becomes a law," he said.

According to him, the House could do better by focusing on COVID-19 response measures first instead of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law.

Following the approval on second reading, the House may take up the measure for third reading without having to wait for the standard three days before the final deliberation as it was certified as urgent by the President. —LBG, GMA News

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