Why local celebrities are joining online call to scrap Anti-Terror Bill

June 2, 2020 - 11:51 AM
HOR practicing health protocols
Members of the House of Representatives practice health protocols inside Batasang Pambansa Complex in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic in this undated photo. (The STAR/Boy Santos)

Local showbiz personalities are using their respective online platforms to urge Filipinos to sign an online petition calling on the House of Representatives to junk the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill that has been classified as “urgent” by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday despite criticisms from rights groups over its controversial provisions.

Television host and actress Solenn Heussaff shared a post through her Instagram Story that highlighted the possible consequences of the measure and wrote the hashtag “#JunkTerrorBill.” It was originally posted by a youth-oriented magazine.

She pinpointed two initiatives that could be affected by the bill, namely “joining a rally” and “donating to non-state-recognized organizations” and commented, “Really???”

Heussaff also shared a link of the online petition aiming to gather digital signatures that called for the House of Representatives to junk the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

To share the link of the petition, one must first sign it.

The host-actress shared it on her Twitter account.

Solenn Petition
Solenn Heussaff sharing the online petition to junk the Anti-Terror Act of 2020 on her Twitter account. (Screengrab by Interaksyon)


Kapuso actress and vlogger Janine Gutierrez also signed the petition and shared the link on her own Twitter, where it has gained more than 1,000 likes and more than 600 shares as of this writing.


Theater actress Gab Pangilinan, the lead actress in the musical “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” also shared the petition and urged her followers to “be vigilant.”

Meanwhile, actress-singer Nadine Lustre also reposted an artwork of photographer and artist Zonlee, that likewise call to junk the anti-terrorism bill.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

“Dissent is not Terrorism!” Zonlee’s caption reads.

Campaign against proposed measure 

The online petition was launched through the website Change.org by the Defend UPLB (University of the Philippines-Los Baños), an alliance of student councils, allied institutions and member-organizations for academic freedom, civil liberties and human rights based in UPLB.

The alliance enumerated four main consequences that could happen once the Anti-Terror Act of 2020 is passed into law.

RELATED: Online petition revived against controversial bill, which House slipped in during MECQ

Concerns include vague definitions of terrorists and terrorist organizations, potentially silencing any forms of dissent or criticism against the government and violating the individual’s rights to privacy.

The proposed measure was also tagged as unconstitutional since the “security and presumption of innocence of the suspects until proven guilty are endangered,” according to the alliance.

The House committees on Public Order and Safety, and on National Defense and Security previously adopted the Senate’s version of the anti-terror bill or Senate Bill No. 1083, which has been approved on third and final reading last February.

The joint committee voted 34 to 2 in favor of approving the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which removed the provisions the lower chamber had proposed for their version.

Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-list) and Rep. Jose Cristopher “Kit” Belmonte (Quezon City 6th District) were the only ones who dissented.

In the separate deliberations held by the upper chamber, only opposition Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan voted against the measure. 

The bill was certified as “urgent” by Duterte on Monday through a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano as the country faces a public health crisis in light of the coronavirus disease.

An “urgent” bill meant that it could be passed on the second and third reading by the same day.