Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

By the Staff

MANILA – Consider the anti-terror bill passed.

So said Tuesday Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

Last week, the House of Representative (HoR) adopted the Senate’s version of the bill that immediately raised a howl of protest by militants and civil rights groups.

“Yes, it’s as good as passed,” SP Sotto said when asked about the likelihood of Congress passing anti-terror bill before the legislature adjourns sine die on June 4.

“It will just need my signature if it comes back to us after ratification then I will transmit it to the President,” added Sotto.

Militants and civil rights groups need not worry for the bill becoming a law because according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, sponsor of the bill, the measure contain enough safeguards to protect human rights.

“As a responsible member of the community of nations, we are duty-bound to improve upon our laws toward ensuring we are able to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions, meet international standards, and fulfill state obligations with the UN – while putting in place safeguards against possible abuse,” he said.

Lacson added that concerns being raised by the progressive and leftist groups, as well as human rights advocates, had been “adequately addressed” during the Committee on National Defense and Security public hearings, as well as the debates and interpellations in plenary.

“Enough safeguards are in place. The critics should read first the bill itself to see for themselves what I am saying,” said Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.

Lacson also explained since it was a certified urgent measure, the three-day rule restriction as required under the Constitution is lifted.

“That gives the bill a chance to [be] enacted into law within 30 days unless vetoed by the President which is very unlikely considering the certification that he issued,” Lacson said. (ia/

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