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Risa says she doesn’t regret signing Anti-Terror Act

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said today she doesn’t regret not signing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 even after the twin bombings that recently happened in Jolo, Sulu which was allegedly carried out by two female suicide bombers.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Risa Hontiveros
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hontiveros said this even bolstered her belief that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can perform its mandate and bear down heavily on terrorist activities under the previous Human Security Act or HSA.

“No regrets and my position on that has been clear,” Hontiveros said in an interview over ANC Headstart.

“While we should bear down heavily against terrorists, I cited before in our interpellations and period of amendments, provisions of the then bill that I believed and still believe were overreaching and could be used by the government even against a non-terrorist,” she said.

“I also noted that in the old HSA, there were already provisions that enabled the Army in doing their intelligence work on these two suspected terrorists, provisions of surveillance, interception, and recording of communications which in fact, granted abroad range of tools to survey individuals believed to be engaged in terrorist activities and at careful pre-anti terror law intelligence work,” Hontiveros pointed out.

Unfortunately, she said these efforts by the military was laid to waste in the June 29 killings involving four soldiers, who were reportedly gunned down by the police force in Jolo even after passing a checkpoint.

“They were able to intercept calls, track locations, analyze the movements of those suspected terrorists. Kayang-kaya sanang sugpuin kung di sila pinatay noon sa hindi pa natin alam na dahilan (They can really suppress terrorism had they not been killed that day for reasons we still do not know up to this point),” she explained.

Hontiveros also thumbed down calls for martial law to be imposed in Jolo, Sulu, saying she concurs with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and agrees it is unnecessary.

“I appreciate his (Lorenzana’s) position on this. I concur with my fellow Senators, pati ang aming Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) at kay Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr.,” she said.

“In fact, just the case buildup of the Philippine Army against those two suspected suicide bombers whom they already closing in on June 29 was one very recent solid example that the AFP is strong enough, and capable enough to pursue terrorists,” she reiterated.

“I would rather go with those colleagues of mine and other colleagues in government and the Armed Forces who said in spirit, that we exhaust first all the powers they and the government currently have to address these terrible twin bombings,” she emphasized.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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