“Stealth? Not Me!”: Rectifying Raissa Robles’ Allegations Against the Anti-Terrorism Law

A blog post by Raissa Robles insinuating that I stealthily inserted Section 25 into Republic Act 11479 – the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 – is malicious and untrue, to say the least.

I abhor violations of the legislative process, and have called out members of Congress for such acts – such as when they inserted their pork barrel in the National Budget bill after its approval on third and final reading or ratification of the bicameral conference committee report, and before the bill was enrolled.

Why, then, would I make such a stealthy insertion to the Anti-Terrorism Bill as Robles implies?

Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 provides for a mechanism that will trigger the freezing of assets of terrorists and terrorist groups by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). Said Section 25 is based on a proposal from the AMLC that Republic Act 10168 – the Terrorist Financing Suppression and Prevention Act of 2012 – lacks the required designation mechanism that will allow authorities to prevent the assets and property from being used to finance terrorism.

This section is part of a substitute bill that was approved during the period of amendments, when the Senate decided to repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, though subject at the time to further amendments, without prejudice to additional clarificatory questions.

After the amendment by substitution on Feb. 12, 2020, Senators Pangilinan on Feb. 18, and Drilon on Feb. 19, introduced substantial amendments to the substitute bill. No amendments were made on Section 25.

If Ms. Robles really went through the records of the proceedings in the Senate as she claimed, she couldn’t have missed such important details – unless she deliberately intended to mislead her followers.

Having said that, the critics will not stop connecting whatever unfortunate and tragic incidents, like the killing of Army soldiers in Jolo, to the Anti-Terrorism Law. Nothing much I can do about that, except to squarely confront them with facts.


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