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Lagman fumes: ‘I wasn’t allowed to take part in Anti-Terror Bill debate’

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the critics of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill, on Wednesday protested the House leadership’s move to prevent him from taking part in the interpellation of the measure on the plenary floor.

Lagman was one of the House members who voted no to House Bill 6875, which was passed on third reading in a 173-31 vote with 29 abstentions on Wednesday night.

“Before I explain my negative vote, I would like to ask the House Leadership to explain why I was not allowed to interpellate the sponsors of House Bill 6875 despite the fact that I seasonably registered my intention to interpellate and I was assured that I was number three in the list of interpellators,” he said.

“Many more were allowed to interpellate and Section 54 of Rule 10 of the House Rules was not enforced,” Lagman said.

“When I complained that I was not being called to interpellate, I was told to call the Majority Leader but the Majority Leader did not answer my repeated calls,” he said.

“If a member of the independent opposition is discriminated against in a parliamentary body, how can we expect the new Anti-Terror Law to be enforced with due respect to human rights and civil liberties of citizens?” Lagman said.

He said he voted no to the bill because it “institutes draconian measures of utmost severity hitherto unknown to penal legislation.”

“Safeguards for the protection of human rights and civil liberties enshrined in the Human Security Act of 2007 have been deleted or diluted,” Lagman added.

“The bill contains vague and nebulous provisions which are so ambiguous and whose implementation is given to the sole discretion of arresting officers or to the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) or the AMLAC, which are adjuncts of the Executive,” he said.