MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it will come up with a position on the anti-terrorism bill passed by Congress once it formally gets a copy of the measure from Malacañang.
“The DOJ will give its comments on the enrolled anti-terrorism bill once it is referred to us by the Office of the President upon transmittal by the Congress,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
Data from the National Prosecution Service (NPS) showed prosecutors secured 17 convictions representing 100 percent of terrorism cases in 2019 and 35 convictions in 2018.
In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday certified as urgent House Bill 6875 which seeks to give the country’s anti-terrorism law more teeth “to address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare”.
The Senate passed a similar measure on third and final reading in February.
Under the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, persons who voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association, or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, shall suffer imprisonment of 12 years.
Suspected persons can be detained for 14 days without a warrant of arrest with an allowable 10-day extension.
A 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists can also be conducted by the police or the military, with an allowable 30-day extension. (PNA)