Duterte to run 'final review' on anti-terror bill as opposition grows

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2020 04:05 PM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 28, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will run a "final review" on a bill that seeks to sharpen the Philippines' anti-terrorism law, Malacañang said Thursday, as opposition to the measure grew to include pop star Taylor Swift.

Duterte earlier this week asked Congress for a swift passage of the bill, as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

"That is still subject to a final review by the President to ensure that it is compliant with our Constitution," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the bill on third and final reading, a similar version of which was passed by the Senate earlier this year.

Since the House and Senate's versions of the bill are similar, it could directly be sent to Malacañang for President Duterte's signature.

Critics called out the proposed legislation, which they said violates basic rights due to the broad definition of "terrorism."

If it becomes a law, the government will be authorized to wiretap suspects, arrest them without warrants and hold them without charges for 14 days, among other provisions. 

As of Thursday afternoon, the hashtag #JunkTerrorBillNow is among the top trending topics on microblogging site Twitter.

Several groups have also launched signature campaigns calling for the scrapping of the bill.