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Senate OKs Anti-Terrorism Bill That Legalizes Wiretapping & Detention Without Warrant

SENATE OKs ANTI-TERRORISM BILL – In a vote of 19-2, the Senate had approved on Wednesday a bill that aimed to strengthen the anti-terrorism law.

Senate OKs Anti-Terrorism Bill: Wiretapping, Detention W/O Warrant Legal
Image from: Business World

The Senators had passed the third and final reading on Senate Bill 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. This bill seeks to repeal the Security Act of 2007, which security officials believe to have lacked teeth.

With the Anti-Terrorism Bill approved, the number of days a suspected terrorist can be detained had increased from three days to fourteen days. In addition, this could all be done without a warrant.

Previously, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wanted the period to be extended to 60 days. However, because of some revisions, it was changed to fourteen.

Along with this, it also removed the provision under the Human Security Act that mandates payment of half a million pesos in damages for each day that a person is wrongfully accused of terrorism is detained.

The Commission on Human Rights would also be notified every time a person is detained on suspicion of terrorism.

Lacson had also assured that the bill had enough security measures against the possibility of abuse by arresting officers. He also emphasized that the bill would protect the rights of suspected terrorists.

According to an article from CNN, any law enforcement or military personnel found to have violated the rights of the accused person shall be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years.

The only two senators that opposed the bill were Senator Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan. In explaining his vote, Pangilinan said the proposed measure is prone to much abuse.

He raised concerns over key provisions such as allowing the police and military to conduct a 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists. Along with this, compelling telcos to disclose the calls and messages of the suspects.

Pangilinan also added that the bill once acted upon, may be used against critics and opposition leaders since no warrant is needed for detainment on individuals.

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