JUSTICE SECRETARY Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the Department of Justice (DOJ) has completed its review of the enrolled version of the anti-terrorism bill and will submit it to the Office of the President.
"As scheduled, we finished our brainstorming session yesterday (Monday), examining and inter-relating with one another each and every section of the enrolled anti-terrorism bill. We are drafting our comments today (Tuesday) and will send our internal communication to the Office of the President tomorrow (Wednesday).
“I am confident that (President Rodrigo Duterte) will wait for and consider not only the comments of the DOJ (Department of Justice) but also those of other government agencies whose comments were requested by the Office of the Executive Secretary," Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
He said as a matter of procedure on the agency's comments on enrolled bills awaiting approval by the President, the communication addressed to the Office of the President is highly confidential.
"We’ll leave it to the Office of the Executive Secretary to decide if they would publicly disclose the basis of whatever action the President would take on the bill," he added.
Malacañang earlier assured that the measure will have safeguards against human rights abuses.
Law enforcement authorities that will abuse the proposed law could face imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has assured that President Duterte will thoroughly review the anti-terrorism bill to ensure that it complies with the 1987 Constitution.
Under the bill, persons who shall threaten to commit terrorism, and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall suffer imprisonment of 12 years.
Suspected persons can be detained for 14 days without a warrant of arrest with an allowable 10-day extension.
A 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists can also be conducted by the police or the military, with an allowable 30-day extension.
Videoconferencing for the accused and witnesses will also be allowed under the measure.
To allay fears of abuse, the Commission on Human Rights will be notified in case of the detention of a suspected terrorist. (By Benjamin Pulta)