The Anti-Terror Bill is now under “final review,” the Palace said on July 2.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the bill is now with the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. This is the last stop before it lands on President Rodrigo Duterte’s table.
"Ibig sabihin po mayroon nang memorandum recommending a course of action to the President. Subject to final approval lang po siguro 'yan ni Executive Secretary at dadalhin na po sa lamesa ni Presidente," he said.
Duterte has only 7 days to decide on the Anti-Terror Bill, as the bill lapses into law on July 9 if he fails to approve or decline.
On June 9, Congress sent the bill to the Palace for Duterte’s signature, even though some members withdrew their vote.
The bill has met criticism from law experts, lawmakers, groups, and even online as some of its provisions have been deemed unconstitutional. Specifically, its definition of “terrorism” is quite broad, which critics have pointed out can be abused.
Protestors also took to the streets to express their criticism of the bill.
Should the bill become a law, it will replace the 2007 Human Security Act. It will also grant the government the power to wiretap communication lines of suspected terrorists, arrest without warrants, and hold suspects without charges for 14 days, with a 10-day extension.
The bill has even appeared on the radar of the United Nations, and the international organization has called on Duterte to not sign the bill, as it could hamper human rights efforts.