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.
At the meeting of the Rotary Club of Manila, Sen. Lacson holds the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 – and its critics – to the Rotary’s Four-Way Test. Sen. Lacson also answered questions on the Anti-Terrorism Bill after the speech.
It is good to once again see familiar faces, virtually at least. I am certain that moving from physical meetings and events to the digital realm is something that is new to all of us. Nevertheless, I find comfort in knowing that this pandemic could not shake the dedication of a Rotarian spirit in living up to its overarching motto: Service above self.
Your invitation says I have 30 minutes to speak. Since there are many points to cover in our virtual discussion today, I will cut to the chase and go straight to the issues at hand.
For the past couple of weeks, among the trending topics that have been dominating the mainstream and social media platforms is the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which as we speak, is awaiting the signature of the President. Unfortunately, the ongoing campaign against this proposed measure, heavily influenced by massive misinformation and disinformation, unfairly devalues the importance of this legislative measure on many fronts.
Hence, as the principal sponsor and one of the authors of the bill, it is incumbent upon me to take every available platform to shed light on the legislative intent and merit of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, as proposed.
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.
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]
Hindi sana naganap ang madugo at mapanirang pambobomba sa Marawi noong 2017, kung umiiral na noon ang iminungkahing Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, bunga na rin ng mga klaro at mabibigat na probisyon nito laban sa terorismo.
Ayon sa mambabatas, kung noon pa ay may mas matapang na batas na laban sa terorismo, siguradong mapipigilan ang karahasan at nailigtas ang maraming buhay at ari-arian.
“Had this measure been in effect earlier instead of the 2007 Human Security Act, the Marawi Siege could have been prevented. For one, a new feature under this bill is to make punishable inchoate offenses, something not present under the present Human Security Act of 2007,” pagsisiwalat ni Lacson.
The deadly and protracted Marawi Siege of 2017 could have been prevented had the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 been in effect at the time, due to its tough provisions against inchoate offenses as well as its mechanism for cutting off terrorists’ funding.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed this as he pointed out the country cannot afford to wait for a repeat of the urban battle that lasted five months and caused massive loss of life and property.
“Had this measure been in effect earlier instead of the 2007 Human Security Act, the Marawi Siege could have been prevented. For one, a new feature under this bill is to make punishable inchoate offenses, something not present under the present Human Security Act of 2007,” Lacson, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said at an online forum of the League of Provinces of the Philippines on Thursday, when asked by Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose ‘Bong’ Lacson.
To Governor Presbitero Velasco, Jr., the National President of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP); Gov. Dakila Carlo Cua, National Chairman; Gov. Susan Yap; to all the members of this honorable organization, my colleagues in public service, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Allow me to express my gratitude for your overwhelming support to the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill. As mentioned by no less that Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año during last week’s webinar, 784 local government chiefs already signed the Manifesto in Support to the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill as of June 17. This alone shows us a clear picture that there is indeed a demand for a stricter and effective counter-terrorism measures on the ground.
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) President Francis Lim, National Issues Committee Chair Rizalina Mantaring, respected members of this great association, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
When two great legal minds clash, not symmetrically, nor tangentially, but squarely, as in head-on, what do laymen like me and probably some of you in this virtual gathering, do?
I am referring to your last week’s guest, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on the one hand, and on the other – an equally eminent legal eagle, a former Justice Secretary, and also my colleague in the Senate – Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. Let me explain.
After reading the transcript of his remarks before the Management Association of the Philippines yesterday, I think he has made up his mind on his interpretation, so in the meantime I will leave it at that.
That said, I am scheduled to speak before the same MAP membership meeting on June 24, and I will have the opportunity to respond point by point to the constitutional issues and concerns that he raised as guest speaker of the same forum.
In a virtual forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on the Anti-Terrorism Bill: * provisions on terrorist financing
* misconceptions about Anti-Terrorism Council
* safeguards vs wrongful arrest/detention
In an interview on SMNI, Sen. Lacson answered questions on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020:
* ATB compliant with the 1987 Constitution [0:17]
* powers of the Anti-Terrorism Council [7:13]
* upholding of human rights [13:48]
* need for a legal backbone vs the threat of terrorism [14:56]
Tatlong maiiksi subali’t klarong pagsasalarawan ang naging tugon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, sponsor ng Anti-Terrorism Bill sa Senado, sa maling akala na naging dahilan ng pagkabahala ng Integrated Bar of the Philippines sa ilang nilalaman ng naturang panukala.
Ang Anti-Terrorism Bill ay mabilis, mabisa at naaayon sa Saligang Batas, maiksing tugon ni Lacson sa pahayag ng nabanggit na grupo ng mga abogado.
“The Anti-Terrorism Bill speaks clear of our swift, effective, and constitutional policy against these acts of terror and against no one else but its perpetrators,” ayon kay Lacson sa kanyang sulat kay IBP President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday rectified the misconceptions of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines about the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, as he maintained the measure aims to combat terrorism in a “swift, effective and constitutional” manner.
In a letter-reply to IBP president Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa, Lacson addressed the IBP’s concerns about parts of the bill, including the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).
“The Anti-Terrorism Bill speaks clear of our swift, effective, and constitutional policy against these acts of terror and against no one else but its perpetrators,” he said.
I will be as eagle-eyed and vigilant and more in guarding against abuses in the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 because I will regard any abuse as a bigger challenge, since I am going all in on this.
“Taya pati pamato na ako rito,” not just because I was the principal sponsor of the measure who painstakingly defended its constitutionality and strict compliance to the Bill of Rights with the help of most of my colleagues who interpellated and proposed their amendments to further enhance the safeguards which I accommodated, as long as we would not come up with another dead-letter law like its predecessor, the Human Security Act of 2007.
Having said that, Section 29, which is now the focus of so many challenges on its constitutionality, is merely a restatement of the same provision in Republic Act 9732 which was originally proposed by a legal eagle in the person of Sen. Franklin Drilon, accepted by an equally great legal mind in Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, then principal sponsor, and voted favorably upon by other legal luminaries in the previous Senate such as the late Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Senators Richard Gordon and Pia Cayetano, to name a few.
Not only that: the same Section 29 underwent further scrutiny in the ensuing bicameral conference with the help of the more eminent members of the House panel, namely: the late Rep. Simeon Datumanong, former DOJ secretary; Reps. Douglas Cagas, Louie Villafuerte, Antonio Cuenco, Edcel Lagman, and Teddy Boy Locsin Jr., now DFA secretary, among others.
With so many illustrious names in the law profession going through the same provision – “having been duly authorized in writing by the ATC, having taken custody of…” how could a layman and perpetual law student like me doubt the constitutionality of the said Sec 29?
The only difference is that the ATB which I sponsored in the Senate has more added safeguards like the immediate notification in writing or the nearest judge where the warrantless arrest was made in compliance with Rule 113, Sec 5 of the Rules of Court, the CHR and the ATC itself which are not present under RA 9732.
Kung naging mapanuri na siya noong tinatalakay pa lamang ito sa kanyang komite sa Senado, mas maigting na pagbabantay ang gagawin ni Senador Panfilo Lacson oras na maging batas na ang Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Tiniyak ito ni Lacson bilang tugon sa mga nagpapahayag ng pagkabahala at pagkatakot sa magiging uri ng pagpapatupad ng mga awtoridad oras na ganap nang maging batas ang panukala.
Ayon kay Lacson, hindi biro ang pinagdaaanan sa Senado ng naturang panukala para lamang matiyak ang paglagay ng safeguards, kaya hindi niya papayagan na masalaula ang implementasyon nito.
“The Anti-Terrorism Bill is the wrong tree to bark up. I vow to join those who are concerned, genuinely or otherwise, about the proposed law’s implementation to be as vigilant in monitoring each and every wrongful implementation by our security forces, even to the point of joining them in street protests, just like what I did before during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” mariing pahayag ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Sunday vowed to closely monitor and call out potential abuses in the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, should it become law.
Lacson said he will not allow anyone to pervert the legislative intent of the measure that he had painstakingly sponsored on the Senate floor.
“The Anti-Terrorism Bill is the wrong tree to bark up. I vow to join those who are concerned, genuinely or otherwise, about the proposed law’s implementation to be as vigilant in monitoring each and every wrongful implementation by our security forces, even to the point of joining them in street protests, just like what I did before during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” he said.
Dahil marami nang nagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan o kaya ay sumusuko sa mga awtoridad, nag-level up na ng mga “fronts” ng New People’s Army (NPA) na siraan ang Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB).
Sa impormasyong nakalap ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, ang pagkakalat ng maling impormasyon laban sa ATB ay ginagawa umano ng mga grupo at indibiduwal na kaalyado o nakikisimpatiya sa NPA.
“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,” pagbubunyag ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.
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.
Under the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Thus, the plan of those opposing the Anti-Terrorism Bill to hold protests on Independence Day – regardless of whether they have read and understood the bill – is their basic right, guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.
In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: * criticisms vs Anti-Terrorism Bill, including high-profile personalities [24:23]
* how National ID system can speed up contact tracing [21:45]
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson sets the record straight on pieces of disinformation against the Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020 – including safeguards against possible abuse; and the role of the Anti-Terrorism Council.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible challenge vs Anti-Terror Bill before the Supreme Court [14:31]
* Sen. Drilon voted yes to anti-terror bill [7:04]
* blame game in COVID health workers’ P1M death benefits [29:53]
* Sec. Duque’s other obligations to health workers under Bayanihan Act [35:39]
* ‘removal’ of safeguard vs overpricing in Bayanihan 2 [44:33]
Terrorism knows no timing nor borders. Some of our country’s policy-makers, especially our people, should know better than just criticizing and believing the massive disinformation campaign against a measure that can secure and protect us as well as our families and loved ones from terrorist acts perpetrated in a manner so sudden, least expected and indiscriminate – as in anytime, probably even today, tomorrow or next week.
That said, I incorporated most of the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism laws of other strong democracies like Australia and the United States, further guided by the standards set by the United Nations, save for the reglementary period of detention in which we adopted the shortest time of 14 days – compared to Thailand with up to 30 days; Malaysia, up to two years; Singapore at 720 days extendible to an indefinite period of detention without formal charges; and Indonesia, up to 120 additional days. Also, safeguards have been put in place to ensure the rights of those detained.
With the help of many of my colleagues who interpellated and proposed their individual amendments, including all the members of the minority bloc, I was more than accommodating to accept their amendments as long as we would not end up with another dead-letter law such as the Human Security Act of 2007, which has so far resulted in just one conviction after more than a decade of its implementation and just one proscribed terrorist organization such as the Abu Sayyaf Group.
To the critics, I dare say: I hope the day will not come when you or any of your loved ones will be at the receiving end of a terrorist attack, so much so that it will be too late for you to regret convincing the Filipino people to junk this landmark legislation.
As a responsible member of the community of nations, we are duty-bound to improve upon our laws towards ensuring we are able to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions, meet international standards, and fulfill state obligations with the UN – while putting in place safeguards against possible abuse.
The concerns being raised by the progressive and leftist groups as well as human rights advocates have been adequately addressed during the Committee on National Defense and Security public hearings, as well as the debates and interpellations in plenary.
Enough safeguards are in place. The critics – some of whom had been extended the opportunity to help craft the bill – should read first the bill itself to see for themselves what I am saying.
That said, once the House of Representatives approves the adopted Senate version of the Anti-Terror bill on third and final reading, they will then transmit it to us for enrollment and subsequent submission to the President.
Since it is a certified urgent measure, the three-day rule restriction as required under the Constitution is lifted. That gives the bill a chance to be enacted into law within 30 days unless vetoed by the President, which is very unlikely considering the certification that he issued.
Thank you very much, the Hon. Sec. Saidamen Pangarungan. It is indeed a distinct honor and privilege to be introduced by an innovative, progressive-minded leader. And with him at the helm, I’m sure the NCMF would be in good hands.
Our guests from the Japanese Embassy, Second Secretary Yoji Konno; our guests from the United Nations Development Programme; the other commissioners and other dignitaries present here; members of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos; to all the participants of today’s assembly, a pleasant morning. As-salaam aleikum.