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Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson have rejected placing Mindanao under martial law anew after the bombings in Jolo, Sulu which have killed at least 15 people.

Both Sotto and Lacson said the Anti-Terrorism Law passed by Congress last June should enable law enforcers to go after the perpetrators of the bombing.

“No need. Anti terror law is already in place. That was one of the reasons we passed it, we are hoping it will solve the terrorism in Mindanao,” Sotto said.

“We have passed a strong Anti-Terrorism Law for our security forces to better address terrorism in Mindanao and the rest of the country,” Lacson added.

The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, however, said petitions challenging the Anti-Terrorism Law’s constitutionality are slowing down the issuance of implementinf rules and regulations.

“Unfortunately, amidst the numerous petitions against the measure, the agencies tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations of the law have not yet issued the same which could have given our law enforcement agencies and the AFP the impetus to fully implement the law with efficacy and confidence, even proactively as we have included even ‘inchoate offenses’ punishable for even at the stage of planning and preparation,’” Lacson said.

Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Mateo said authorities are checking whether the bombings were done in retaliation for the arrest of Abu Sayyaf leader Anduljihad “Idang” Susukan earlier this month.

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