Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

President Rodrigo Duterte errantly considers more urgent the suppression of sporadic “acts of terrorism” by instituting draconian measures than enacting an economic stimulus package granting relief to distressed people and businesses in the wake of the still raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The President has certified as urgent the passage of House Bill No. 6875 (Senate Bill No. 1083) repealing the Human Security Act of 2007 (R.A. No. 9372) by further tightening the noose on suspected terrorists at the expense of the protection of human rights and civil liberties like critical dissent and expression of grievances despite the lip service to protect such fundamental rights provided in the repealing measure.

Conversely, the President failed to certify the immediate enactment of House Bill No. 6815 or Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines or the ARISE Philippines Act appropriating the total amount of P1.3-T to continue emergency assistance to displaced workers as well as to grant interest-free and concessional loans to adversely affected businesses, particularly the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as transportation and tourism enterprises.

The draconian features of the proposed repeal of the Human Security Act include the following, among others:

  1. Expanded definition of terrorism which encompasses virtually all perceived or suspected acts of terrorism which may include political dissent, and redefining the crime of terrorism by removing the inculpatory purpose of terrorism “to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand”, thus making prosecution and conviction easier.

  2. Authorizing wiretapping of suspected terrorists for a maximum period of ninety (90) days as an amendment to the Anti-Wiretapping Law (R.A. No. 4200);

  3. Authorizing detention without judicial warrant of arrest for a maximum period twenty-four (24) days of suspected terrorists instead of the present three-day maximum;

  4. Authorizing the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to pry into the bank accounts of suspected terrorist groups and persons without a specific court order by freezing such accounts for 20 days, subject to six (6) months extension by the Court of Appeals, as an exception to the “Law of Secrecy of Bank Deposits” (R.A. No. 1405);

  5. A preliminary order of proscription of alleged terrorist organizations has no terminal duration pending proceedings before the Court of Appeals;

  6. Red-tagging of groups and persons is encouraged, facilitated and legalized; and

  7. Safeguards for the protection of human rights and civil liberties enshrined in the Human Security Act have been deleted or diluted.