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New anti-terror law will not be abused — PNP

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The implementation of the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or Republic Act 11479 will not be abused, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a statement on July 4, 2020.

PNP spokesman Brigadier Gen. Bernard M. Banac said in a statment, “the PNP welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the Anti-Terror Law” on July 3, 2020. “PNP assures that it will not be abused and we shall faithfully uphold all institutional mechanisms that provide safeguards to its implementation.”

In a Philippine News Agency article on June 9, 2020, PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa said the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the people.

“I don’t suppose that the legislature, the branch of government who takes care of formulating the law will craft it without safety nets. I think these have safety nets and the public is there to watch,” Gamboa said.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 introduces provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act.

Those who possess objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism or make documents connected with the preparation of terrorism shall also be punished with life imprisonment without parole.

Any person who shall threaten to commit terrorism shall suffer the penalty of 12 years. The same jail term will be meted against those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism.

Any person who shall voluntarily and knowingly join any organization, association, or group of persons knowing that such is a terrorist organization, shall suffer imprisonment of 12 years.

Under the new anti-terror law, the number of days a suspected person can be detained without a warrant of arrest is 14 calendar days, extendible by 10 days.

Advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person or to create a serious risk to public safety are not considered terror acts, according to RA 11479.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 also ensures that the use of torture and other “cruel, inhumane, and degrading” treatment or punishment against detained suspected terrorists is “absolutely prohibited.”

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