President Rodrigo Duterte will be running a “final review” on a bill that seeks to sharpen the Philippines’ anti-terrorism law, the Palace said on Thursday.
This, as opposition to the measure grew which includes the United Nations Human Rights Office and pop star Taylor Swift.
The government’s countering of national security threats and illegal drugs has resulted in “serious human rights violations” in the Philippines, including killings and arbitrary detentions, as well as the vilification of dissent, a report by the UN Human Rights Office revealed on Thursday.
The UN report said there was persistent impunity and formidable barriers to accessing justice and that need to be urgently addressed.
As of Thursday afternoon, the hashtag #JunkTerrorBillNow is among the top trending topics on microblogging site Twitter.
Several groups have also launched signature campaigns calling for the scrapping of the bill.
Duterte earlier this week asked Congress for a swift passage of the bill, as the country continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is still subject to a final review by the President to ensure that it is compliant with our Constitution,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the bill on third and final reading, a similar version of which was passed by the Senate earlier this year.
Since the House and Senate’s versions of the bill are similar, it could directly be sent to Malacañang for Duterte’s signature.
Critics called out the proposed legislation, which they said violates basic rights due to the broad definition of “terrorism.”
If it becomes a law, the government will be authorized to wiretap suspects, arrest them without warrants and hold them without charges for 14 days, among other provisions./Stacy Ang