BREAKING: Duterte signs controversial anti-terror bill into law

President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Presidential Communications/FB
President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Presidential Communications/FB

Despite widespread protests and mounting criticisms, President Rodrigo Duterte today signed the controversial anti-terrorism bill into law, his spokesman Harry Roque confirmed this afternoon in a text message to reporters. 

This comes a month after Duterte certified the bill as urgent, bringing Congress to pass the bill on June 3, which would have lapsed into law on July 9 if the president failed to sign or veto it.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, giving the Duterte government more surveillance powers over Filipinos, as it lengthens the punishment of up to 12 years to life imprisonment, those who will propose, incite, conspire, and facilitate “terrorist acts” against the Philippine government and its people.

It will also allow the government to detain terrorists for up to 24 days without a warrant.

Read: Duterte should ‘refrain’ from signing anti-terrorism bill, says UN human rights chief

Activists and lawyer groups have deemed the bill “dangerous” as it fails to give suspected terrorists the right to due process.

Duterte’s signing of the bill into law comes just days after United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet urged the president to “refrain” from signing the draconian law which could possibly violate human rights and endanger the lives of legitimate activists.

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