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A no-nonsense public servant for more than 40 years, SENATOR PANFILO “PING” MORENA LACSON has been circumspect in matters of public interest and committed against various forms of corruption and wrongdoing, in line with his personal credo: “Ang tama, ipaglaban. Ang mali, labanan. (What is right must be kept right. What is wrong must be set right).”

Lacson first earned a tough, no-nonsense reputation while serving in the Philippine National Police: solving high-profile crimes including kidnap-for-ransom cases in the 1980s and 1990s; and reviving the PNP’s glory days as Chief, PNP from 1999 to 2001.

In the Senate, Lacson is an untiring, tenacious watchdog of the national budget, making sure dubious congressional insertions (a.k.a. pork barrel) and useless appropriations are checked and deleted during plenary debates. More about Senator Lacson here.

This website has official photos, videos, speeches and statements of Senator Lacson. The #PingBills section contains his bills, resolutions and committee reports in the 18th Congress. The #Usaping Katotohanan section seeks to correct misimpressions about Sen. Lacson and his advocacies.

On the Denial of a Legislative Franchise to ABS-CBN

I don’t think the standards for the granting of legislative franchises will change. The case of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise application is ‘sui generis’ in a manner of speaking.

The Machiavellian leadership style easily comes to mind, and if I may quote what Niccolo Machiavelli once wrote: “I’d rather be feared than loved if I cannot be both.” Accept it or not, the President’s body language was obvious enough for the House leadership and allies not to read and interpret the way they voted yesterday.

All that being said, Machiavellian or not, President Duterte’s leadership style is a class by itself and is proving to be an effective style of leadership. Whatever individual and collective reasons the 70 Committee on Legislative Franchise members have in voting against the media giant, nobody can argue that under the Constitution, a legislative franchise is up to Congress to grant or not.

With regard to ABS-CBN, the only message I have for them is: “You fall today, you will rise tomorrow, and that’s for sure.” It is as simple as that.


#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH

In an interview on Abante Radyo Tabloidista, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ABS-CBN franchise [30:25]
* Fake news vs Anti-Terrorism Law [37:22]
* Cops accused of violating the law [16:07]
* Dealing with COVID at home [21:20]
* DOH issues in handling COVID pandemic [24:05]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH”

On Allegations of ‘Abuse’ by the President of the Anti-Terrorism Law

Obviously, the President was referring to the designation of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group by the Anti-Terrorism Council in late 2017 as authorized by Sec. 11 of Republic Act 10168, the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, following the standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It paved the way for the filing of a proscription case by the DOJ, which is now pending before a Manila Regional Trial Court.

Among the provisions of the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is a restatement of Sec. 11 under RA 10168 – we simply added the mechanism for the freezing of assets by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Thus, there is nothing illegal in the action by the Chief Executive to proclaim that the CPP-NPA is a designated terrorist organization after the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has ruled on the matter.

What I simply clarified when asked to comment on the declaration made by the President is the difference between designation and proscription. Designation is administrative and can be exercised by the Executive Branch through the ATC, while proscription is judicial which only the RTC (under the now-repealed Human Security Act of 2007) and the Court of Appeals (under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020) has the power to decide.

In the case of proscription, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership of a proscribed terrorist organization undergoes the same due process of law – meaning the Court of Appeals will decide who may be identified as members and subsequently arrested.

Unfortunately, designation and proscription have been used interchangeably – and conveniently at that – by critics of the Anti-Terrorism Law to advance their purpose of asserting that mere designation may result in arrest and detention, thus giving the ATC judicial powers under RA 11479 – which is wrong, if not malicious.


On the President’s ‘Declaration’ of the CPP-NPA as Terrorists: Opinion, Not Official

If in “declaring” a group, organization or association as a terrorist organization, the President is referring to its proscription, there is a judicial process involved – meaning full court intervention via the Court of Appeals, complete with due notice and hearing.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, only the Court of Appeals can order the proscription – not the Anti-Terrorism Council, nor the President. Further, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership in a proscribed terrorist group goes through the same due process which the DOJ has to prove.

On the other hand, if the President is referring to the designation of a terrorist individual, group and organization by the ATC, it does not involve arrest and detention but a mere signal for the ATC to request the Anti-Money Laundering Council to issue a freeze order of the accounts and assets of the designated terrorist person or group.

That said, designation for the purpose of freezing the accounts and assets is not exempt from judicial scrutiny since the said designated individual or group can still file a petition with the CA to appeal such freezing of their accounts. Designation follows the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It is not absolute or discretionary on the part of the ATC.

Therefore, the “declaration” is a personal opinion of the President, not official. The trial of the proscription case against the CPP-NPA is still pending before the Manila RTC. With the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the trial will be transferred to a division of the Court of Appeals to be authorized by the Supreme Court.


On the Lifting of the Suspension of Non-Essential Travel by Filipinos

As long as conditions are complied with and protocols are strictly observed, particularly on quarantine procedures upon their return to the country, I can see no problem with the lifting of the suspension on non-essential travel by Filipinos.

That said, however, I do not see this encouraging Filipinos to travel. Who would be encouraged to travel in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?


On New Opportunities for Terrorists to Exploit

No less than the Secretary General of the United Nations has warned that extremist and terrorist groups can exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and other new opportunities to strike.

The only timing that the terrorists know is their own. This is what I have been telling the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Likewise, terrorism knows no borders. Surely, we do not want to be the haven of terrorists in Asia. The Marawi Siege is such a painful and costly experience which we as policy makers cannot allow to happen again.

As long as the terrorists can achieve their intent and purpose of inflicting maximum damage to life and property in order to sow fear and intimidate the general public, they will strike at any opportunity.


An Anatomy of Malice: The Clarifications Raissa Robles Deliberately Ignored


[This is a statement from the Office of Sen. Lacson. As Senator Lacson’s staff, we are calling out Raissa Robles’ malicious claims in her blog – and giving the real score.]

Never let the facts get in the way of a malicious story.

This is the story behind the “exclusive” of self-styled “investigative journalist” Raissa Robles, insinuating Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stealthily inserted Section 25 into what is now Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Before posting her “exclusive,” Robles managed to contact Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who informed her that Section 25 was part of a substitute bill that was approved during the period of amendments.

In her text message to the Senate President, she said she was “trying to trace” who inserted some paragraphs in Section 25 of the enrolled bill, as they “were not present in the Second Reading version of the bill which is the Senate defense committee report.”

She added that the paragraphs “only appeared in the Third Reading version that was approved in final reading,” and asked, “Is it correct for me then to assume that Senate (sic) Lacson had inserted them himself?”

Continue reading “An Anatomy of Malice: The Clarifications Raissa Robles Deliberately Ignored”

#PINGterview: CHR, May Mahalagang Papel sa Anti-Terrorism Law

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on the Anti-Terrorism Law:
* active role of the Commission on Human Rights in the Anti-Terror Law [10:31]
* encouraging the filing of petitions on the Anti-Terrorism Law to boost public discussion [14:48]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: CHR, May Mahalagang Papel sa Anti-Terrorism Law”

#PINGterview: Anti-Terror Law sa Korte Suprema; Pagtungo ni PRRD sa Zamboanga dahil sa Jolo Incident; Bayanihan 2

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Anti-Terror Bill to be questioned before the Supreme Court [10:01]
* goals of Senate inquiry into Jolo incident [34:24]
* PH warning vs China over military exercises [40:34]
* special session for Bayanihan 2 [42:39]

Continue reading “#PINGterview: Anti-Terror Law sa Korte Suprema; Pagtungo ni PRRD sa Zamboanga dahil sa Jolo Incident; Bayanihan 2”

“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?

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