Don't interfere in PH affairs, Palace tells US lawmakers calling for repeal of anti-terror law

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2020 06:10 PM

Protesters march towards UP Diliman in Quezon City against the Anti-Terrorism Bill on June 4, 2020. The bill was passed under the Lower House on its third and final reading on June 3, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - American lawmakers should not interfere in the Philippines' domestic affairs, Malacañang said Thursday after at least 45 US congressional representatives called on the Duterte administration to repeal the new anti-terror law.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reminded the US that the Philippines is a sovereign state and has a working justice system to rule on the constitutionality of the measure.

The American lawmakers conveyed their message in a letter to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

"Huwag na po kayong maghimasok. Hindi na po namin kayo colonial masters. Independiyenteng bansa na po kami," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(Don't meddle anymore. You are no longer our colonial masters. We are already an an independent country.)

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, on July 3 despite heavy opposition over fears it could be used to silence government critics.

The new law, which is expected to take effect on July 19, is facing at least nine legal challenges before the Supreme Court on fears that it could be abused to violate basic rights due to the broad definition of "terrorism."

"Ang matter na Anti-Terror Law, nasa Korte Suprema na po natin iyan. Hayaan po nating desisyunan ng Korte Suprema," Roque said.

(The matter of the anti-terror law is already with the Supreme Court. Let's allow the court to decide on it.)