The Philippine National Police (PNP) assured the public on Thursday that the new anti-terrorism law will not be abused after President Duterte signed the controversial law, with opposition from various sectors, against some of the provisions that are said to violate human rights.
PNP speaker P / Col. Bernard Banac (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
The PNP, spokesman Brig. General Bernard Banac welcomes the signing and says it will be of great help in protecting the Filipino population from local and terrorist attacks such as the past bombings and the siege of the city of Marawi.
"The PNP ensures that it will not be abused, and we will remain faithful to all institutional mechanisms that provide safeguards for its implementation," said Banac.
The new anti-terrorism law, Republic Act 11479, has been the subject of disputes even within the legal community, as there are provisions in the law that violate the constitution, particularly with regard to the Bill of Rights.
One of the controversial provisions is the timeframe in which the authorities could arrest a terrorist suspect, who says that he could last up to 14 days and be extended by another 10 days. Critics said Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution only allowed a maximum of three days for the detention of an unsuspected suspect.
Another provision is what legal experts in the Anti-Terrorism Act describe as a vague provision about what inciting terrorism is through news articles, opinions, and even social media posts.
While government officials affirmed that the anti-terrorism law is safe because it is similar to the anti-terrorism law of European countries, critics said they are afraid of police and military abuse.
In a previous statement, PNP chief General Archie Gamboa said the anti-terrorism law was an effective tool to protect Filipinos from the constant threats posed by the Abu Sayyaf group and other terrorist groups in the country.
"In situations where the existence of democratic institutions is threatened, the government can always invoke the right of the state to protect itself," said Gamboa.
“This anti-terror law is a fair and valid exercise of the right of the state to protect itself and its people. We can only say better late than sad, even if we are the youngest country in the Asia-Pacific region to pass a law that criminalizes terrorism. But in any case, there should be a law, ”he added.