[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?”
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]
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]
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?
Much credit goes to President Rodrigo Duterte. With all the pressure coming from different directions against the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, at the end of the day, it is his strong political will that mattered most.
I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the President.
We crafted the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 based on the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1373. It was the UN that prodded the Philippines to strengthen its laws against terrorism.
So, is this the United Nations going up against the United Nations?
The problem with the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Bill like the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the others is that they criticize without even reading the bill itself.
While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need.
For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident – and even making plans to exploit it.
These enemies of the State and our people, through their legal fronts, are very capable of fanning the flames of animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police by creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.
A speedy but thorough determination of the facts that led to the tragic shooting of four Army officers by police in Sulu is critical and cannot be emphasized enough.
It is wise and proper that both Philippine National Police Chief P/Gen. Archie Gamboa and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. have agreed that the National Bureau of Investigation take full control of the criminal investigation, and allow the evidence to dictate the findings.
But the NBI’s investigation results notwithstanding, and more than making fully accountable all those responsible for the incident, the ground commanders of both sides must be in full control of the situation to avoid an escalation of the situation.
Our security forces already have their hands full in their fight against their common adversaries such as terrorism and insurgency in Mindanao. Allowing disunity in any form would give the enemy an unwanted advantage that could prove fatal for our nation.
In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]
Before a special session is called, it is best for the Executive Department and Congress to first agree on a mutually acceptable legislative measure to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and economic problems that beset our country. That way, we won’t be wasting our time.
However, as long as the Department of Health is incompetently led and the health issue cannot be addressed appropriately, we will be in a Sisyphus-like situation. Worse, we will just be throwing away our country’s very limited resources that could bring us neck-deep in debt with no solution in sight.
It’s bad enough that we will be forced to scrounge and even borrow just to augment our already limited funds. It’s infuriating if we lose it all – and more – to incompetence.