Duterte says Palace legal team still reviewing anti-terror bill

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2020 12:41 AM

Duterte says Palace legal team still reviewing anti-terror bill 1
Protesters gather on June 12, 2020 for a "party-themed gathering against the anti-terror bill. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said his legal team is still reviewing the controversial anti-terrorism bill.

"My legal is still reviewing it. My legal team, sa Malacañang. Hindi ko pa natanggap. I had it reviewed. It’s always automatic. Pag daan sa akin, I endorse it to legal, without even reading it, actually, if you really want to know," Duterte said in a livestreamed public address.

He also said it will be up to the legal team to recommend whether he should sign or reject the bill.

"It’s legal who will return it to me, with the recommendation whether I'll approve it or not," Duterte said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President is "inclined" to sign the bill, which he certified as urgent.

Congress on June 9 transmitted the bill to Duterte's office, seeking to amend the 2007 Human Security Act.

The proposed measure has stoked fears of rights violations due to its broad definition of "terrorism" and for provisions giving wider surveillance powers to authorities.

Those against the bill have used the hashtag #JunkTerrorBill on social media. Several groups have also launched signature campaigns calling for the scrapping of the bill.

The stricter anti-terror law comes as the Philippines continued efforts to stop terror activities, including kidnappings and bombing operations of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group, extremists that the United Nations tagged as terrorists in 2001.