MANILA: Two offices under President Rodrigo Duterte’s supervision are still reviewing the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill, Malacañang said on Saturday.
In a radio interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that only one of three offices under the executive branch has completed the assessment of the proposed anti-terror law.
He made the clarification, a day after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo announced that it was recommended that the bill be approved and signed by Duterte.
“I think ang natapos lang po is si Secretary Panelo (I think it’s just Secretary Panelo who completed the review),” Roque said.
In a statement on Friday, Panelo said his office, after a “careful and thoughtful” review, sees the need for the “urgent” enactment of the bill into law.
Panelo believed that the proposed measure if passed into law, would be the government’s “powerful weapon” against terrorists in the country.
Roque said the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, which are also tasked to review the provisions of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, have yet to make recommendations to Duterte.
“Ang ie-emphasize ko lang po, may at least tatlong opisina po ang pakikinggan niya (Duterte). Isa lang po si Secretary Panelo (What I want to emphasize is there are at least three offices that he would listen to. One of those is Secretary Panelo’s office),” he said.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill is now up for Duterte’s signature after being transmitted to his office on Tuesday.
Duterte can either sign the measure into law, veto it, or let it lapse into law after 30 days of receipt without signing it.
The proposed Anti-Terror Act allows the detention of suspected terrorists for up to 24 days sans a warrant of arrest.
Under the bill, a 60-day surveillance with an allowable 30-day extension can also be conducted by the police or the military against the suspected terrorists.
A person who voluntarily or knowingly joins a terrorist organization will also face 12-year imprisonment.
(PNA/ Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/ SRNY/ RSP)