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Sana walang madale: Terrorism knows no timing nor borders, Ping reminds ‘critics,’ disinformation campaigners vs anti-terror bill

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Terrorism knows no timing nor borders. As such, some of our country’s policy-makers, especially our people, should know better than just criticizing and believing the massive disinformation campaign against the anti-terrorism bill.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson stressed this Thursday as he maintained the measure, which he sponsored in the Senate in October 2019, contains enough safeguards against possible abuse.

“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,” he said in a statement.

He added the anti-terror bill, which is now waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature, is 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.”

Lacson noted he had always been mindful of the Bill of Rights in the 1987 Constitution when he conducted public hearings on the measure and sponsored it on the floor last October. The bill was approved on final reading in February.

He pointed out he had incorporated most of the provisions of anti-terrorism laws of other strong democracies like Australia and the United States, further guided by the standards set by the United Nations.

Even the provision on the reglementary period of detention of suspected terrorists provides for the shortest time in the Philippines at 14 days, Lacson said.

He noted Thailand has 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,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lacson said many of his colleagues, including those in the minority bloc, interpellated and proposed their individual amendments.

He said he 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.

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