[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 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?
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.
Mr. President, fellow members of this august chamber, it is my honor to co-sponsor Senate Bill No. 1354 entitled ‘An Act Amending Articles 183 and 184 of Act No. 3815, As Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code,’ as embodied under Committee Report No. 49.
Somebody once said: “He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.” Nonetheless Mr. President, in my decades of experience as a public servant, I have come face to face with countless instances where a witness went the extra mile to invent hundreds of other lies just to maintain the first lie that he/she made under the sacred oath of truth.
I need not go far, Mr. President. I myself had been a victim of untruthful testimonies fabricated with the end goal of destroying my person. Never would I forget the unadorable persons answering the names of Ador Mawanay and Cezar Mancao, and a host of other characters who weaved unthinkable lies and narratives of the crimes that I supposedly committed.
The bringing of huge sums of money in and out of the country in past months with seeming impunity indicates the urgent need for action from our government, not just by the Executive but also by the Legislative. Our authorities should keep up with, if not keep one step ahead of, criminals who are trying to do the same.
While there is need to address the corruption that is one big reason for authorities’ tolerating money laundering, there is also a need to take a long, hard look at gaps in our existing laws, including the Bank Secrecy Law and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
On the other hand, the amendments to these laws should also make sure that they cannot be weaponized for political purposes. Speaking from experience, I have been at the receiving end of such abuse of the law by the likes of Ador Mawanay, Mary “Rosebud” Ong, Victor Corpus and the Arroyos, who prompted me to waive my rights under the Bank Secrecy Law and challenged them to withdraw all the dollars they claimed I owned. And acting from those experiences, I proposed amendments to the AMLA and filed a bill excluding all public servants from the Bank Secrecy Act.