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Abante thumbs down Anti-Terror Bill: ‘It’s just a carbon copy of Senate version’

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Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. on Wednesday cast a no vote against House Bill 6875, a measure the lawmaker described as a “carbon copy” of its Senate counterpart.

“I vote NO to Senate Bill (SB) No. 1083. Eh kasi naman, yung ating HB 6875 ay kinopya ng buong-buo yung SB 1083,” the Manila lawmaker said.

The bill was approved on third reading in a 173-31 vote on Wednesday night with 29 abstaining.

“The House of Representatives… simply adopted the Senate version of the Anti-Terror Bill and did not even see it fit to deliberate and formulate its own version,” Abante lamented.

“Nawalang saysay ang check and balance, na syang dahilan kung bakit may dalawang kapulungan ang ating lehislatura,” he said.

Abante raised several issues against the measure, such as Section 29, which would allow the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) to order the arrest of people suspected of committing any of the acts punished by the bill.

“Under our Constitution, warrants of arrest can only be issued by the courts,” he said.

Section 25 of this bill, Abante explained, would also empower the ATC to “designate” people or groups which it deems to be involved in terror acts. Groups or individuals designated would be subject to sanctions by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), such as freezing of assets without notice or hearing.

Abante pointed out that under the Constitution, “no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

He said another dangerous provision of the measure was Section 9, which introduces a new crime, inciting to terrorism, which is defined as “any person who, without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall incite others to the execution of any of the acts specified in Section 4 hereof by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other 4 representations tending to the same end.”

“Ibig sabihin nito, lahat ng kritiko ng gobyerno at mga may hinaing laban sa gobyerno ay puede ng ipa-aresto,” he said.

“Under this bill, anyone suspected of being a terrorist can be detained without a warrant for up to 24 days. Kahit sino sa atin ay maaaring ipa-aresto at makulong ng 24 days ng walang anumang kasong isinasampa sa hukuman,” warned the House leader.