Cayetano to anti-terrorism bill critics: We can amend or repeal law if you're right

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano called on law enforcers to make sure there will be "zero abuses" to the controversial anti-terrorism measure once it is passed into law.

The government should "prove the critics wrong," Cayetano said during the turnover of donations to military frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

"Kayong mga kritiko (To you critics), we appreciate your criticisms 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," he added.

[Translation: 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.]

The anti-terrorism bill, which is expected to be enacted by President Rodrigo Duterte, will repeal Human Security Act of 2007, giving more surveillance powers to government forces. Among its contentious provisions is allowing suspected terrorists to be arrested without warrant and detained without charges for up to 24 days.

Critics of the measure say it relaxes safeguards on human rights and is open to abuse. Cayetano reiterated that the measure is "at par" with the laws of other countries and it would not be used against law-abiding citizens.