De Lima raises doubts on Anti-Terrorism Law

Published July 7, 2020, 4:15 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima said she doubts the military and the police can effectively enforce the Anti-Terrorism Law following the fatal encounter in Jolo, Sulu which led to the deaths of four soldiers.

De Lima said the summary execution of Major Marvin Indammog and his men by elements of the Jolo Municipal Police shows an excessive use of force by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“I don’t know how exactly messed up our security forces are right now, but I don’t think that any objective observer would consider them in tip-top shape at the moment,” De Lima said in her recent statement.

“These are the security forces, the AFP and the PNP, who are supposed to enforce the Anti-Terror Law on a population of 110 million, when they cannot even prevent 9 of their policemen from wiping out from the face of the earth four of their Army troopers. If that is not messed up, then I don’t know what is,” she pointed out.

“God help us if these are the policemen and soldiers who will implement the Anti-Terror Law, people who cannot even recognize among themselves who the friendly forces and who the terrorists are,” she reiterated.

De Lima earlier joined other lawmakers in criticizing President Duterte for signing the Anti-Terror bill into law saying the move was meant to kill democracy and human rights in the Philippines.

The detained senator noted that on the same day Duterte signed the Anti-Terror Law, he flew to Zamboanga City to try to appease the officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP to discuss the matter.

De Lima said she believes the President basically told the soldiers “Ibigay ninyo na sa akin ‘to,” and pleaded for the soldiers’ understanding. In doing so, she said Duterte enumerated the list of things that he has supposedly done for them—raising their salaries, buying them equipment, appointing their retired generals to the Cabinet, and even giving them side arms with which the soldiers are supposed to shoot themselves when their rifles run out of bullets.

 “This is not the gesture of a President. This is the style of a Mafia Godfather who comes knocking on the door asking for payback on a favor,” she pointed out.

Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa—both former PNP chiefs—said they support an impartial probe into the alleged “misencounter.”

Lacson said a legislative inquiry probe should address the supposed “miscommunication” between the PNP and the AFP, noting that this is not the first time that police and soldiers were engaged in a misencounter.