#PingSays: On Anti-Terrorism Legislation Efforts | Oct. 1, 2018

In an interview, Sen. Lacson answers questions on:
– amendments to the present Anti-Terrorism Law
– moves to address the Philippines’ having the weakest law to address terrorism
– targeting the passage of the measure before Christmas break

Quotes from the interview… 

On amendments to the present anti-terrorism law (Human Security Act of 2007):
“Definition, sa surveillance, and ex-parte. Tapos ang foreign terrorists. Ito ang salient points na kailangan baguihin.”
“Naging dead-letter law dahil 11 years after the passage of the HSA the first and only implementation na nakita natin ang proscription ng ASG. Aside from that wala na. Wala nang na-proscribe kasi una ang law enforcement, even the military, masyado silang apprehensive or even reluctant to file violation of the HSA and instead they are filing common crimes or offenses like murder because of the P500,000 a day na multa for false prosecution. Pag na-acquit pwede maubos, magkautang-utang sila dahil sa P500K a day damages.”
“In-strengthen natin not only in coordination with our local stakeholders but we also consulted other jurisdictions notably Australia. Nag-coordinate kami sa kanila kasi sila ang pinaka-proactive. Since the 9/11 attack (2001) they amended their anti-terrorism law at least 61 times. They keep on improving and ang mga provisions, sa France, Australia, Indonesia, talagang we have the weakest anti-terrorism law in the world.”
“There are existing laws na nag-a-address sa mga concern ng false prosecution. So court na ang bahala, discretion nila kung mag-award ng damages. A falsely prosecuted person can always sue the government. We need not incorporate it in the proposed measure.”

On removing the P500K-a-day penalty or ‘Sword of Damocles’ for law enforcement:
“Kaya masyadong hesitant ang law enforcement na mag-implement nito kasi nauwi sila mag-file sila ng multiple murder or illegal possession of explosives instead of filing cases in violation of the HSA kasi may parang Sword of Damocles na naka-hang over their heads.”
“Aalisin natin yan (P500K-a-day penalty).”

On freezing of suspected terrorists’ property:
“We agreed na i-separate na lang because it will defeat the purpose of confidentiality of surveillance ng tao. Pag sinamahan mo ng preliminary asset preservation or i-freeze mo assets, malalaman ng tao under surveillance siya kasi di siya makapag-transact ng business with his bank or banks. Or assets niya di magalaw. Malalaman niya suspected terrorist siya.”
“That’s why we agreed para di ma-defeat ang purpose kung may ganoon, separate na lang. And it’s in in accordance with provisions of the AMLA.”
“Ang preliminary asset preservation meaning freezing, di pwede isama roon and also for another reason na that’s a violation of the civil rights of the individual kasi under suspicion frozen agad assets mo, what if mali ang suspicion?”

Target date to have the bill approved:
“Hopefully before we go on Christmas break maipasa. Kaya fina-fast track para subject sa plenary debates.”

Amended anti-terror law compared to martial law:
“Sabi ni Sec. Lorenzana mas effective ito mas maging efficient sila di kailangan ang martial law.”
“Ang martial law sa Mindanao sabi ko nga sa inyo wala naman additional powers, di suspended ang writ, ang reglamentary period remains. Walang pinagbago. Psy-ops lang.”

On PH having weakest anti-terror bill in the world:
“We have the weakest law to address terrorism. Yan ang probelma natin. All over the world not only in Asia or the west, pero all over the world, tayo ang pinaka-weak.”