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President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing into law the “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” further stifles dissent, imposes prior restraint to freedom of expression, derogates civil liberties, and institutes state terrorism.

The new anti-terror law repeals the less repressive “Human Security Act of 2007” which provided for safeguards for fundamental freedoms.

We should not wait for any abusive enforcement of the proposed “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” to happen after it becomes a law because the abuse is in the measure itself.      

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano fails to see that the proposed new anti-terrorism law is the abuser for containing provisions violative of civil liberties and fundamental freedoms.

The purported ban on the grant of legislative franchise to companies which have operated for more than 50 years is definitely another non-issue based on the following reasons:

  1. There is no constitutional provision or statute which prohibits the renewal or grant of a congressional franchise to corporations which have been in operation for more than half a century.

Rappler’s chief executive officer Maria Ressa and Rey Santos, Jr. were convicted of a clearly prescribed offense of cyber libel when the trial judge errantly extended the prescriptive period of cyber libel by invoking the almost century old Act No. 3326, instead of applying the one-year prescription under Art. 80 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). 

Act No. 3326 provides for the prescription of offenses defined by special penal laws based on the severity of the impossable penalty, in which case cyber libel is supposed to prescribe in 12 years since its penalty is imprisonment for six (6) or more.

The Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) of ABS-CBN which are issued to foreign investors are completely compliant with the Constitution, and do not constitute a scheme to circumvent the constitutional requirement on 100% Filipino ownership and management of mass media enterprises.

The criticism that PDRs achieved indirectly what the Constitution directly prohibits, is utterly baseless speculation.