What is in House Bill 6875, otherwise known as the anti-terrorism bill?

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DNX broke down the salient points of the bill, including sections detailing definition, and punitive action.

We will lift here entire portions lifted from the bill itself.  To know more about it, click on this link

What is terrorism?

Terrorism, according to Section 4 of the bill, refers to: “Any acts committed by any person within or outside the Philippines who:

Any acts committed by any person within or outside the Philippines who: Engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life.
Engages in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property.
Engages in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure.
Develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies or uses weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical kind.
Release of dangerous substances, or causing fire, floods or explosions.
  • Engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life,
  • Engages in acts intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property
  • Engages in acts intended to cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure
  • Develops, manufactures, possesses, acquires, transports, supplies or uses weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical kind
  • Release of dangerous substances, or causing fire, floods or explosions.

What is NOT terrorism?

Terrorism does not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial  or mass  action, other similar exercises of civil and political rights, “which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety”.

Terrorism shall not include: Advocacy, Protest, Dissent,
Stoppage of work, Industrial or mass  action, Other similar exercises of civil and political rights, which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety.

Designation of “terrorist” individuals and organizations

The Anti-Terrorism Council will automatically adopt the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated individuals, group of persons, organizations, or associations designated and/or identified as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group.

The Anti-Terrorism Council will automatically adopt the United Nations Security Council Consolidated List of designated individuals, group of persons, organizations, or associations designated and/or identified as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group.

Twelve-year imprisonment

House bill 6875 enumerates acts that could earn a person 12 years of imprisonment.  These include:

  • Threatening to commit terrorism
  • Proposing to commit terrorism
  • Inciting to commit terrorism (speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end)
  • Join any organization association or group that has been identified as a terrorist organization, or organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism.
  • Being an accessory by profiting himself/herself, or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime, concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments to prevent its discovery; or by harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal or conspirator of the crime, shall be liable as an accessory.

Life imprisonment without benefit of parole

All acts under Section 4 (see first part of the bill).

This also includes planning, training, preparing, and facilitating the commission of terrorism, possessing objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism, or collecting or making documents connected with the preparation of terrorism;  recruiting others into an organization identified as “terrorist” or those organized for to commit acts of terrorism could also earn a person a lifetime sentence.

Other acts include travelling outside their state of residence to commit, plan, participate in acts of terrorism or provide or receive terrorist training, to organize or facilitate the travel of individuals who travel other states to perpetrate, plan, train, or prepare for, or participate in terrorism or providing or receiving terrorist training.

any person residing abroad who comes to the Philippines perpetrate, plan, train, or prepare for, or participate in terrorism or provide support for or facilitate or receive terrorist training here or abroad.

Criminal liability

Any person who provides material support to any terrorist individual or terrorist organization, association or group of persons committing any of the act of terrorism shall be liable as principal to any and all terrorist activities.

Surveillance and wiretapping

Yes. Under Section 16, any law enforcement agent or military personnel may, upon a written order of the Court of Appeals “secretly wiretap,  overhear and listen to, intercept, screen, read, surveil, record or collect… any private communications,  conversation,  discussion/s,  data,  information,  messages in whatever form”.

Those tapped or surveilled could be “terrorists” or any person charged with or suspected of committing any of the crimes defined and penalized.

Exemptions from surveillance and wiretapping

Communications between lawyers and  clients, doctors  and  patients, journalists  and  their  sources  and confidential business correspondence.

Detention without a judicial Warrant of Arrest?

Yes.  The bill says that any  law enforcement agent or military personnel, after having been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terror Council, shall “without incurring any criminal liability for delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities, deliver said suspected person to the proper judicial authority within a period of fourteen (14) calendar days”  counted from the moment of apprehension/arrest.

Steps to take after custody

The bill provides tasks for the government agent after taking custody of the suspect.  These are first notify in writing the judge of the court nearest the place of apprehension or arrest of the following facts:

(a) the time, date, and manner of arrest;

(b) the location or locations of the detained suspect/s and

(c) the physical and mental condition of the detained suspect/s.

The law enforcement agent or military personnel shall likewise furnish the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the written notice given to the judge.

Rights of a person under custodial detention

Suspects who are charged with or suspected of committing terrorism shall:

be informed, by the arresting law enforcement agent or military personnel to whose custody the person concerned is brought, of their rights, to be informed of the nature and cause of his/her arrest, to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his choice.

Suspects who cannot afford the services of counsel of their choice shall be given free legal assistance from a unit of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) or the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).  Suspects will then be given free legal assistance.

These rights cannot be waived  except  in writing and  in the presence of the suspect’s counsel of choice.

Violation of rights by detainees

The penalty of imprisonment of  10 years  shall  be  imposed  upon  any law  enforcement  agent  or  military personnel who has violated the rights of persons under their custody.

In cases where law enforcement agents or military personnel who violated the rights of a detainee or detainees are not identified, the same penalty shall be imposed on the head of the law enforcement unit or military unit having custody of the detainee at the time the violation was done.

Torture, coercion and interrogation

The use of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment is punishable by law.

Illegal acts by government agents, and respective penalties?

The bill enumerated certain acts as illegal and punishable. 

These are: revealing without authorization classified materials (imprisonment of 10 years); causing, or allowing escape of detainees under custody (imprisonment of 10 years); furnishing false evidence, forging documents, or spurious evidence in any investigation or hearing (imprisonment of six years).

Freezing of assets

The State can investigate “any property or funds that are in any way related to financing of and property or funds of any person or persons… to whom there is probable cause to believe that such person or persons are committing or attempting or conspiring to commit, or participating in or facilitating the financing of” terrorism. The state can also freeze these funds and properties.

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