Sen. Lacson Chairs the Senate Public Hearing on Anti-Terrorism Bills

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Senate Bill 1956, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2018
Lacson Bill Gives Government Stronger Teeth vs Terrorism
Hearing on the Anti-Terrorism Bill, Oct. 1, 2018

Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Hearing

Good morning to everyone. This is the continuation of the joint public hearing of the Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs; Committee on National Defense and Security, Committee on Justice and Human Rights; and Committee on Finance, in reference to different bills on anti-terrorism, namely:

* SB 1134 authored by Sen. Gordon
* SB 1396 authored by Sen. Honasan
* SB 1715 authored by Sen. Sotto
* SB 1956 by this representation.

First of all, I would like to recognize the presence of the chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security, Sen. Honasan. Also our resource persons:

* OIC of the Anti-Terrorism Council, Florentino Manalastas Jr.
* From the NICA: Atty. Melanie Albores; Atty. Roberton Lapuz; Atty. Jerome Reyes; Gen. Marte Chioco; Atty. Manuel Llena; Director Candido Bontocon
* Atty. Marwin Llasos
* National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

As mentioned during the last hearing, the Human Security Act passed in 2007 is seen as a dead-letter law. The only successful implementation (was) Nov. 20, when the Taguig RTC convicted a certain Nur Supian, the one who took up the Jabal Nur or Tiger Base camp in Marawi. He was found guilty but 3 others who were likewise impleaded were acquitted. He was found guilty with rebellion in relation to Sec 3 of the HSA. Aside from that the only successful implementation was the proscription of the ASG as a terrorist organization… So two convictions and one proscription. But still there is a need to amend the HSA.

Taking off from where we left off from the recent public hearing on Oct. 1 attended by mostly our security and defense officials, our resource persons arrived at a concurrence to amend the following provisions of the HSA:

  1. The redundant provision allowing the person being surveilled to have the right to be informed; it doesn’t make sense to inform the person about to be surveilled;
  2. The basis for and threshold in applying for an ex-parte judicial authorization or the order to conduct surveillance, as well as preliminary asset preservation;
  3. The period by which a suspected terrorist may be detained for the efficient and effective conduct of custodial investigation and its proposed extension to up to 30 days, this is somewhat controversial; and
  4. The provision on false prosecution penalizing law enforcers at the high rate of P500,000 per day in favor of terror suspects who are acquitted. This probably is one of the reasons why hindi successful ang implementation of the HSA.

With that, let us begin.