PHILIPPINE House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday, June 19, called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to work with the national government to prevent potential abuses under the controversial anti-terrorism bill.
“It is a reminder to the Executive Department, the Secretaries, who will form the Task Force Committee, it is a reminder to the Chief-of-Staff, it is a reminder to the Senate and Congress, and it is a reminder to the Chief PNP that the law will be judged not by all its successes, but by one abuse,” Cayetano said during the turnover of food items to AFP front-liners at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“So pagtulung-tulungan po natin (So let’s work together on this)… that there will be zero abuses of this law, so that, maybe not now, maybe not next week, maybe not in one year, we may prove the critics wrong,” he added.
Cayetano also said the Congress can amend or repeal the bill if critics of the bill turned out to be right.
“At kayo pong mga kritiko (And to you critics), we appreciate your criticism, but, in this case, we hope that you are wrong. And if you are not wrong at any point in time, we can amend or repeal,” Cayetano said.
“Some of you will say it might be too late. ‘Yun rin po ang sinasabi namin e, pag sumabog na yung bomba, patay na yung mga tao, nagiba na yung airport, wala nang turistang pupunta sa atin, it’s also too late (Some of you will say it might be too late. That’s what we’re saying also. Once the bomb goes off and people are killed, or the airport is destroyed and tourists could no longer visit us, it’s also too late),” he added.
Cayetano reiterated that there are legal safeguards in the proposed law.
“We have an anti-terror bill that is at par with Singapore, U.S., and UK. ‘Yung pinipintasan po na provisions sa anti-terror bill ay mas mababa po ang period of detention at mas maraming safeguard (The provisions in the anti-terror bill that are being criticized have a shorter period of detention and more safeguards),” he said.
Malacañang on June 9 confirmed that it has received a copy of the anti-terrorism bill.
President Rodrigo Duterte has 30 days to act on the legislation or else the bill will lapse into law 30 days after receipt.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, for his part, said Duterte is “inclined” to sign the proposed amendments on the country’s anti-terrorism bill.