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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, June 13, 2020
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Withdraw anti-terror bill
‘yes’ vote, Gasataya urged


Members of urban poor organizations led by the Federation of Urban Poor-Negros Occidental held a lightning rally at the Bacolod City Public Plaza yesterday after the 122nd Independence Day program to protest against the anti-terrorism bill.

The group also called on Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya to withdraw his “yes” vote for the bill.

Joy Jarabelo, Federation of Urban Poor provincial coordinator, yesterday said that while they are against terrorism, they are opposing the proposed measure, particularly Section 29, which provides that a person can be arrested on mere suspicion.

“No independence in terror bill,” the urban poor group chanted as they pushed for theamendment of the proposed bill.

The Federation for Urban Poor also appealed to Gasataya to withdraw his vote as other solons did.

“A vote with reservation is still an affirmative vote,” Jarabelo said.

She pointed out that the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod City unanimously approved a resolution to junk the anti-terror bill.

The SP of Bacolod approved a resolution expressing its grave reservation over Senate Bill 1083 or “An Act to prevent, prohibit, and penalize terrorism” that will repeal Republic Act No. 9372 or “The Human Security Act of 2007”.

Meanwhile, Miles Octavio of the Paghimud-os/LP Paghiliusa, said they are also opposing the proposed anti-terror bill because it violates human rights. Once the bill is signed by the President, the people will lose their right to be heard, Octavio said.

She said the law provides the public the right to reason out.

“This is a government of the people, for the people and by the people,” she said.

Octavio added that as a former Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo, she knows the Constitution. It is against the Constitution to overrule the sentiments of the people.

“This is our country and we have to defend it. So we should stand our ground and let justice prevail,” Octavio said.

Gasataya said he voted “affirmative with reservation” because his intenstion was to include in the bicameral committee conference the three salient provisions in the bill which he raised, or have them included in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).

The salient provisions he raised include the aspect of warrantless arrest that he believes should go through the judicial process. It should follow the rules of court when issuing a warrantless arrest, he said.

Gasataya also said the ATC should come up with a unanimous vote in any action it takes and not just act on a majority vote.

He voted with reservations because he wants these points included in the law, he added.

Gasataya was among the six solons from Negros Occidental who voted yes to the anti-terror bill. The other Negrense officials were Reps. Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd District), Juliet Marie Ferrer (4th District), Ma. Lourdes Arroyo (5th District), and Joseph Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist).*


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