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Democracy at work: Ping confident Anti-Terror Law can withstand SC scrutiny

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson voiced confidence Saturday that the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 can withstand scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

Lacson welcomed the plan of some groups to question the new law before the high court, saying it is “democracy at work.”

“That’s democracy at work. Mabuti na rin yan. After all, at the end of the day, Supreme Court ang pwede lang mag-arbitrate at mag-interpret kung constitutional ba o hindi,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.

When asked if he was confident the law will pass the Supreme Court, he said: “Very confident kasi talagang pinag-aralan namin.”

But he added he will respect the high court’s ruling on the law, particularly on the aspect of its constitutoinality.

“Ngayon kung isip ng mas nakakaraming justices ng SC na may mga provision na unconstitutional, igagalang natin yan. Wala tayong magagawa riyan kasi sila ang nasa ilalim ng Saligang Batas na pwede mag-interpret. Hindi ako, hindi ikaw, hindi ang human rights groups,” he said.

Lacson reiterated the law has several safeguards, in some cases providing “double due process” of law.

He cited a provision where the Department of Justice has the burden of proof in seeking to proscribe a group as a terrorist organization – but even if a group has been proscribed, its members cannot be automatically arrested and will undergo another due process.

“Double due process nga eh. Dumaan ka sa due process of law kasi may court intervention, may due notice of hearing yan doon sa sinasabing terrorist organization. At pag na-proscribe na, di pa rin automatic,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, Lacson said he will just try to understand constant critics of the new law who he said try to link it to every issue imaginable.

“Inuunawa ko na lang na di sila (kritiko) titigil at ikokonekta nila rito sa Anti-Terror Act, ang RA 11749, lahat ng pwedeng tragic or unfortunate na incident na mangyari, pilit nila ikokonekta,” he said.

But he noted these groups have failed to score on the new law, as he managed to rebut their claims that the law violates the Constitution. Yet, he said they would merely shift the argument just so they can continue criticizing the law.

“So wala na tayo magagawa sa ayaw makinig sa reason or sa pagpapaliwanag. Wala na tayong magagawa diyan. Maghintay tayo ng ruling ng SC on the issue.”

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