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Solon calls on Duterte to veto new anti-terrorism bill

ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the controversial new anti-terrorism bill, which was submitted earlier in the day to Malacañang for his action.

In a statement, Castro slammed the "hasty" transmittal of the bill to Malacañang, which he said prevents more lawmakers from withdrawing their affirmative vote for the measure amid the growing public clamor.

"Patuloy na nananawagan ang taumbayan para sa pagbabasura ng Anti-Terror Bill dahil nakita nila ang mga masasahol na probisyong aapak sa karapatang pantao ng Pilipino sa panahon na maisabatas ito," she said.

"It is about time that the Duterte administration listens to the calls of the people and vetoes this measure. This bill only will be used to terrorize the people and silence dissent, criticism, and opposition. Even legitimate and Constitutionally guaranteed rights can be tagged as terrorist acts under this bill," she added.

Castro maintained that the public does not need a new anti-terrorism law, especially at a time of COVID-19.

"Sa panahon na kailangan natin ng mass testing, contact tracing at sistematikong plano para sa mga kababayan nating tuloy-tuloy ang paghihirap ngayong panahon ng COVID-19, inuuna administrasyong Duterte ang Anti-Terror Bill na sinusupil ang mga karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino. Sila ang tunay na terorista," she said.

The Kabataan party-list, represented by Sarah Elago in Congress, also issued a similar call to the President.

"We challenge Duterte to veto the Anti-Terror Bill, and to instead address and focus on the pressing needs and concerns of the Filipino people amid the COVID-19 crisis. The bill, ironically, would be responsible for sowing fear and permitting an omnipotent state to do anything as it pleases," the group said.

"The military and political allies of the regime will be immuned from its horrifying effects, while the rest of the population, especially the poor and marginalized, would be repeatedly beaten down to submission by the baton of the military state," it added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte will review the new anti-terrorism bill first before signing it into law.

Asked if he thinks Duterte will enact it on the same day, the Senate President said: "Hindi. Matagal pa 'yun."

Sotto, nonetheless, said he was confident that the measure will not be vetoed by the President. — DVM, GMA News