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May limit sila! Foreign governments limited to intel-sharing in going after terrorists in PH, Ping reiterates

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Foreign governments will still have a limited role in going after terrorists in the Philippines, even with the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.

Lacson, who sponsored the measure in the Senate, said this as he allayed potential sovereignty concerns involving foreign participation against terrorists.

“Let me emphasize foreign assistance is limited to intelligence support. Whether it’s human, technical or electronic intelligence. In the case of Marwan in Mamasapano and even in Marawi, our local military forces relied heavily on technical intelligence provided by our counterpart,” Lacson said at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Manila, responding to a question posed by Dean Amado Valdez.

“But they are limited to such assistance. They cannot go hand in hand in hunting down or even operating physically against the suspected terrorist. And again I’d like to emphasize our local forces, military and police, should abide by provisions of Rule 113 Sec 5 on warrantless arrests,” he added.

He noted that while the Philippines has a Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States and the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement with Australia, “they can only provide intelligence support or assistance to our troops.”

On the other hand, he said law enforcement agents or military personnel acting on the intelligence report submitted by such foreign military forces should act in accordance with the provisions of Rule 113 Sec 5, on warrantless arrests.

“Kung sa harap nila ang nagko-commit at accurate ang intel information, A1, and they chance upon these terrorist groups about to commit, actually committing, or has just committed, they can make or conduct arrests on the basis of lawful warrantless arrests,” he said.

Lacson also told Valdez the anti-terrorism bill does not seek to revise the Revised Rules of Court in this regard.

“You and I know Dean Valdez, we cannot do that. Congress cannot do that; it is incumbent upon the Supreme Court to amend or revise Rules of Court,” he said.

On the other hand, Lacson said Valdez’s concerns on the participation foreign military forces can be refined when the implementing rules and regulations are formed.

“I don’t think we need to amend this bill once approved into law, enacted into law, but it can be refined in the crafting of the IRR,” he said.

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