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Bomber na, recruiter pa! Without anti-terror measure, jailed terrorists can recruit other inmates to their cause, Ping says

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Without an effective anti-terrorism measure in place, terrorists can pose a threat even in jail – by recruiting other inmates to their “cause,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.

Lacson said this was the case of the 2007 Human Security Act, which became a dead-letter law when the police and military avoided using it against arrested terrorists.

In an interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, he said at least 66 Abu Sayyaf members were convicted but for “common” crimes such as kidnapping. As such, they were not subjected to de-radicalization and can recruit fellow inmates to their cause.

“Ang problema doon, nawawalan ng karapatan ang gobyerno magsagawa ng program of de-radicalization. Sa halip na ma-deradicalize ang mga detainees, sila ang nagre-recruit sa loob ng preso kasi ang kaso nila common crimes,” he said.

In contrast, under the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, whose Senate version Lacson sponsored, government interventions will be administered for those charged.

Lacson said government interventions should be available to change the way of thinking of fundamentalists.

“Dapat may programa ang gobyerno, na ito may psychiatrists, psychologists na mag-a-attend sa kanila. Special ang treatment sa kanila para hindi sila makapag-recruit sa loob ng preso. At sila mabago ang kaisipan tungkol sa terorismo,” he said.

In the meantime, he said the present anti-terror law, the 2007 HSA, remains virtually useless as the police and military avoid using it, due to its penalty of P500,000 for each day a suspected terrorist who will be acquitted is detained.

“So talagang may compelling reason para i-repeal (ang 2007 HSA),” Lacson said.

“Pinakaimportante rito, may intervention ang gobyerno na kung saan mapagbago ang kanilang kaisipan. Magbago ang sa halip na sila nagra-radicalize sa loob. Alam mo ang mga fundamentalist iba ang takbo ng isip nito. Maaaring nasa loob na sila mag-commit pa sila ng acts of terrorism doon,” he added.

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