Lacson: NPA Fronts Busier with Disinformation Drive vs Anti-Terrorism Bill as More Comrades Surrender

Fronts of the communist New People’s Army – and their “allies” – have become busier in their disinformation campaign against the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 over the weekend, as more of their comrades surrender to authorities.

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson bared this on Sunday as he urged the public to read a provision in the bill that those behind the intensified smear drive have conveniently skipped.

“An Army commander reported that in anticipation of the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the NPAs have started surrendering. 27 in just 2 days in Quezon, Laguna and Mindoro alone. Many more are sending surrender feelers. That is why, he said, their fronts have become busier with their disinformation campaign,” he said on his Twitter account.

Related: Ping: Anti-Terrorism Bill, Lalong Sinisiraan ng NPA Fronts Para ‘Di Maubos Miyembro

Earlier, Lacson noted there is a pending proscription case against the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army at the Manila Regional Trial Court.

The CPP/NPA, along with the Abu Sayyaf, are already designated by the US Secretary of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

A list of foreign terrorist organizations posted on the US State Department website indicates the CPP/NPA was designated as early as Aug. 9, 2002. The Abu Sayyaf, which was declared a terrorist organization by a Basilan court in 2015, was designated on Oct. 8, 1997.

“As per the Anti-Terrorism Bill, once the United Nations designates the local communist guerrillas as a terrorist organization, the ATC can initiate an administrative action through the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze their accounts. These and more could be the reason why there is so much disinformation going on,” Lacson noted.

“I hope the different political parties that are opposed to the current administration will not fall into the ‘scare tactics’ trap laid out and being peddled by groups who are sympathetic to the CPP/NPA’s cause which incidentally has deteriorated to the level of banditry and extortion activities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lacson urged the public to read a provision in the measure that the NPA’s fronts have conveniently skipped in their disinformation campaign.

He said Section 45 of the bill belies their claims the Anti-Terrorism Council has the power to order the arrest of “suspected” terrorists as the ATC has no judicial or quasi-judicial authority.

“Those who have doubts on the extent of the ATC authority, please find time to read Section 45 of the bill, particularly the last paragraph, ‘Nowhere herein shall be interpreted to empower the ATC to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial power or authority,'” he said.

Also, Lacson turned the tables on a so-called human rights “researcher” who accused him of “peddling misinformation” about the anti-terrorism measure and retweeted claims by a group claiming the ATC has such powers.

“That is my original line. You are plagiarizing,” Lacson tweeted to Human Rights Watch “researcher” Carlos Conde.