By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday, June 29, called on the public to trust the government to properly implement the Anti-Terrorism Bill when it is signed into law.
Lacson issued the appeal during the government’s Laging Handa public briefing on COVID-19 where he reiterated that the bill contained enough safeguards to prevent abuse of human rights.
The chair of the Senate national defense committee sponsored the Senate Bill No. 1083, whose provisions were adopted by the House of Representatives. The bill has been enrolled in Malacañang, awaiting President Duterte’s signature.
“Sana po huwag tayo basta makinig sa paulit-ulit kong sinasabi na maling interpretation ng mga kumokontra (I hope that we don’t listen to what I have been calling as a wrong interpretation of those opposed to the bill),” Lacson said when asked about the concerns on the controversial bill.
“Dapat magkaroon sana tayo ng tiwala sa ating pamahalaan, sa ating alagad ng batas kung saan hindi naman para abusuhin ito. Kaya katakot-takot na safeguards ang ating nilagay rito para maiwasan ang abuso (We should have trust in our government, in our law enforcers, that they will not abuse it. That’s why we placed numerous safeguards here to prevent abuse),” he added.
In the briefing, the lawmaker also repeated his earlier statement that the Marawi siege in 2017 could have been prevented had the proposed anti-terror law been enacted at the time.
Lacson said the enactment of the anti-terror bill is urgent even as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang terrorism, wala itong pinipiling time o border. Hindi natin pwede sabihan ang mga terorista, ‘Pakiusap lang po, huwag muna kayo magbomba kasi may COVID’. Hindi naman tayo papakinggan noon. At sila hinahanap nila oportunidad at maximum impact. So pag sinabing urgent, ang anti-terrorism bill is always an urgent measure (Terrorism knows no timing or boundaries or borders. We cannot tell the terrorist, ‘Please do not bomb us because we have a COVID-19 crisis’. They will not listen to us. And they will just look for an opportunity to strike and where there will be maximum impact. So when we say urgent, the anti-terrorism bill is always urgent),” he said.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque recently said that President Duterte is inclined to sign the anti-terror bill.