Now that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is in effect, the Filipino people are assured of a law that allows the Philippines to mount the needed strong response against the threat of terrorism.
As the one who painstakingly sponsored the measure in the Senate, I will not allow anyone to pervert the legislative intent of the law, thus my commitment to go the extra mile in guarding against possible abuse in its implementation.
It is the responsibility of all Filipinos to see to it the law is implemented properly – meaning, it is meant to go after terrorists and not anyone else. Thus, the efforts of some groups to similarly keep watch against abuses despite the safeguards already in place are very much welcome, so long as they avail of the proper venues and follow safety protocols.
That said, we cannot afford to have disinformation campaigns aimed to make the public reject the Anti-Terrorism Law. Terrorism knows no timing or borders. I hope the day will not come that critics of the law – especially those behind the disinformation drives – will not be at the receiving end of terrorist attacks.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.