“Old law has no government intervention to de-radicalize terror suspect” – Sen. Lacson

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MANILA – Senator Panfilo “Peng” Lacson, the principal author of Senate Bill No. 1083, otherwise known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 defended the proposed law, which was passed on third and final reading before the adjournment of congress on June 4.  The said bill does not need a bicameral version because the house of representatives has technically concurred with the senate version.

He said, during a live radio-TV interview on Sunday morning, June 7, that the bill is a better version of the old Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) because it provides ‘teeth’ to the country’s response against global terrorism and government intervention on suspected terrorists.  “Security advisers from the European Union, the United States, and Australia came to my office asking why we could not pass a law on terrorism with teeth?” Lacson said.

Senator Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the administration of President Erap Estrada said the country has the weakest anti-terrorism law in Southeast Asia, ranking 9th in the Global Terrorism Index of countries negatively affected by terrorism.

He bewailed that the HSA had so far only convicted one terrorist because law enforcers are reluctant to file cases under the said law for fear of being fined with Php 550-thousand a day if the suspect they arrested is later proven otherwise. 

“Biro mo, out of 66 convicted Abu Sayyaf members walang isa ang na-convict sa HSA kondi sa kaso ng murder, kidnapping at illegal possession of firearms” (You know what, out of 66 convicted Abu Sayyaf members, no one was charged under the HSA but with murder, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms), he said
He further said the what is missing in the previous law is the government intervention to de-radicalize terrorist suspects so that they cannot recruit others in their cells.  “Kailangang may government program of de-radicalization sa mga suspect, bigyan sila ng special treatment na makapabago sa kanilang  kaisipan.  Ngayon sila pa ang maghasik ng terorismo sa loob ng piitan,” (There is need for a government program of de-radicalization of suspects, they are given special treatment that will change their mindset.  Right now they are the ones terrorizing their inmates inside their cells), Lacson said.

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