Duterte waiting for inputs from Lacson, ES, DOJ before deciding on Anti-Terror Bill

Published June 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said President Duterte is still waiting for the proposed Anti-Terror Bill (ATB) to be vetted before he decides on the fate of the controversial measure.

In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” on Wednesday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President told Cabinet members in a meeting with members of the COVID-19 task force on Monday that he was still waiting for Senator Panfilo Lacson, the principal author of the bill, to finalize it.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on June 15, 2020. (SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque said the ATB was not included in the President’s public address that was aired on Monday evening.

“When he addressed the nation, it was not broadcasted. When he spoke about the Anti-Terror Bill, he was saying, ‘I’m waiting for Senator Lacson to finalize his commas and periods before I sign the bill,'” Roque recalled.

“Apparently, he has not seen the enrolled bill in his desk himself which means that it is still being vetted by the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), and perhaps they are also awaiting inputs from the Department of Justice (DOJ),” he added.

Roque said President Duterte will not solely rely on the recommendations of the OES, DOJ, and Lacson.

“Let’s not forget, the President was also a criminal lawyer, a public prosecutor,” Roque said.

“He will read the bill himself and he will make a determination if there’s any provision that is contrary to the bill of rights and the Constitution,” he said.

Malacañang had earlier assured the public that Duterte will pay extra attention to the bill due to the opposition to provisions that are supposedly prone to abuse and violate human rights.

Local support

Roque also clarified that it was not President Duterte who asked the 784 local chief executives to support the Anti-Terror Bill.

“I don’t think it was the President who asked for the support because he was in Davao. It was Secretary [Eduardo] Año,” he said.

“It’s only but natural because he is the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and terrorism, of course, can only occur in specific jurisdictions of the Philippines constituting LGUs (local government units),” he added.

Roque said nothing will happen to the local chief executives who opposed the signing of the bill into law.

“It’s a free country,” he said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)