Sen. Lacson Chairs the Hearing on the Anti-Terrorism Bill

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Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Hearing:

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inactions, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for the injury.”

This quote from the renowned political and economic thinker John Stuart Mill best captures the rationale of today’s public hearing, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007.

Senate Bill 1956, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2018
Lacson Bill Gives Government Stronger Teeth vs Terrorism

Indeed, this committee hearing is called to discuss several anti-terror bills referred to your committee on public order and dangerous drugs. In consideration are the following:

Senate Bill 1134, authored by Sen. Gordon
Senate Bill 1396, authored by Sen. Honasan
Senate Bill 1715, authored by Senate President Sotto
Senate Bill 1956, authored by this representation.

We only need to look at the historical background of the 11-year-old Human Security Act of 2007 to arouse our interest and look at a compelling need to amend what this representation may refer to as a dead-letter law. And for good reason.

For one, no person or organization has ever been prosecuted under the Human Security Act during the past 11 years. In fact, what may be considered the first and only implementation of that act was the proscription of the Abu Sayyaf Group as a terrorist organization by the RTC in Isabela City, Basilan.

We are thankful to the security officials for submitting to us their legislative proposals in this regard. Having said that, we treat your draft measures in coordination with other jurisdictions, notably Australia, which is one of the most proactive countries in legislating counter-terrorism measures.

Since the 9/11 terror attack against the US, Australia has already legislated 61 new anti-terror measures. As lawmakers, we cannot in good conscience remain silent and do nothing about our primary law against terrorism, becoming nothing more than a useless piece of legislation. We cannot have it buried in our archives instead of being a source of strength of our law enforcers to prevent, respond to, and address the growing threat of terrorism.

While an anti-terror law in itself cannot solve the problem of terrorism, it is incumbent upon us to give the government and law enforcers the much-needed tool in dealing with the emerging threats of terrorism. We cannot allow this to continue. We must act now. Our inaction will make us equally accountable for every death, injury and damage terrorists inflict on our country.

With that, let us begin.