Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said that his mother, who was previously one of the authors of the first version of the proposed Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020, abstained in the final reading following the backlash he earned on Twitter.
Escudero on Wednesday night tweeted his opinion about the controversial anti-terror bill shortly after the House of Representatives passed it on final reading.
“No one is for terrorism but governments should be careful not to inflict the very same evil they are trying to prevent on their own citizens. That’s what the Bill of Rights is for — to limit the powers of gov’t. and protect the rights/liberties of the people! No law can override it!” he wrote.
It earned more than 2,500 retweets and more than 9,200 likes as of this writing.
While Escudero’s views were praised by some, there were others who pointed out that his mother, House Deputy Speaker Rep. Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon, First District), was one of the proposed measure’s authors.
— seiruhhh 🥨 (@lakwatsarah) June 3, 2020
— Javi Vilchez #DefendPressFreedom #HoldTheLine (@Javiercrombie) June 3, 2020
“Your mother is one of the principal authors of this Anti-Terrorism Bill… did you discuss this and try to dissuade her?” a Twitter user pointed out.
The matriarch’s name was listed as one of House Bill 6875’s authors in the version that was submitted on May 30 during the first reading.
Escudero responded to some of the Twitter users who pointed out his mother’s participation and said that she “abstained” on the third reading last night.
“According to her po she abstained,” he replied to one of the online users.
The governor expounded in one of his replies and said: “Version approved (is) different from version filed po… that’s why she abstained… am not defending just stating facts… does not change the way I think and believe.”
The version of the anti-terror bill that hurdled the lower chamber’s readings was similar to the version that was previously approved by the upper chamber in February. This was to reportedly fast-track its approval and avoid convening a bicameral conference.
Other lawmakers whose names have previously appeared on the house bill as its authors retracted their support as well.
These include principal author Rep. Ruffy Biazon (Muntinlupa) who voted against the measure on the final reading and Rep. Loren Legarda (Antique), who claimed she did not co-author the bill and voted against it.
Meanwhile, Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas, Sixth District) said that she was in favor of it “with reservations.”
The anti-terror bill has alarmed critics, including local celebrities, due to certain provisions that were seen to potentially stifle dissent and curtail constitutionally-protected civil liberties.