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Anti-terror bill to be transmitted to Malacañang today

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act would be transmitted to Malacañang this morning. 

He confirmed to reporters that he already signed the enrolled bill and that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano also affixed his signature last night.

"Alan signed last night. Sending it to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte this morning," Sotto said in a message.

He added that he cannot accommodate the request of some congressmen to defer the transmittal of the bill to the Palace.

"A bill passed by both Houses of Congress [is] already enrolled and yet some congressmen would like to hold it? It has never been done. They would not want me to do that to any of their bills, do they?" he said.

Sought for comment, Duterte's spokesperson Harry Roque said Palace officials will review the bill before making a recommendation to the President.

"Iyan na naman po ay dadaan sa proseso, pag-aaralang mabuti ang mga probisyon at kung meron pong mga probisyon na unconstitutional then i-a-advice si Presidente kung ibe-veto o hindi," Roque said in a televised briefing.

"We have a 30-day period to review, either to veto or to sign the bill. Otherwise, kung walang aksyon ang Presidente it will become law."

Last week, Sotto said that the controversial bill was "as good as passed" after Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

The House of Representatives adopted the Senate's version of the bill and approved the same on third and final reading on June 3.

Several groups, however, were opposed to the passage of the bill as they pointed out that it could be an instrument to silence political dissent and activism in the country.

Among the controversial provisions of the measure were the extension of detention period for those arrested without warrant from the current 36 hours to 14 days, which is extendable by 10 more days; the court's issuance of preliminary proscription order within 72 hours; and the allegedly "ambiguous" definition of what constitutes terrorism.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, author of the bill, said the Department of Justice may influence its passage.

"The DOJ can interfere by advising the President to veto the bill altogether because, remember, this is not a revenue measure nor it is a budget measure, so there is no line item veto here," Lacson said.

"It's either the President vetoes the bill in whole, not in part, or he approves it," he added.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and human rights groups were among those who opposed the anti-terror bill.

Retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio said once signed into law, the Anti-Terrorism Act may immediately be challenged before the Supreme Court

As of 12:24 p.m., Sotto said the Palace is already printing copies of the transmitted bill.

"Email already received but i’m waiting for the actual receipt... Technically, it's as good as received," he said.  — with Virgil Lopez/KG/KBK/RSJ, GMA News