Former Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Friday, September 2, slammed Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda for saying that the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/New Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) is "not an enemy of the State."
‘’Senator Legarda is a friend and I respect her opinion but I cannot for the life of me agree with her stand,’’ Lacson, former Senate national defense committee chairman, said in a press statement.
‘’Simply put, an armed terrorist group —already designated not only by the government of the Republic of the Philippines but also by the European Union, the United States of America and four other countries (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand)—is unequivocally an enemy of the state,’’ he stressed
‘’That being said, any attempt to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act is a disrespect to our comrades-in-arms as well as the countless civilians who fell victims to the atrocities of this terrorist group that has lost its ideological principles over the years - they murder, they rob, they extort, they harass and intimidate and worse, indiscriminately,’’ he added.
The defeated presidential candidate authored and sponsored and ‘’almost single-handedly defended the legislative measure in the Senate plenary, as well as in the battle for public opinion in many fora including the media.’’
Lacson emphasized that he would not hesitate to be part of the opposition to thwart moves to amend this law in its substantive form which no less than the Supreme Court has declared as constitutional.
Legarda is a colonel in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Reserve Corps.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Legarda refused to pass judgment on Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chair Prospero de Vera III after his sister Adora Faye de Vera, was arrested last week for her alleged role in the killings carried out by leftist groups.
Legarda, who is known for her advocacies for the environment, said she finds nothing wrong with working with the so-called left and admitted to having worked with them in several instances.
The senator made her stance on leftist groups known after Sen. Francis Tolentino made a privilege speech suggesting that the government compel public officials, especially those occupying senior posts, to disclose any ties with persons belonging to government-tagged terror groups, such as the Abu Sayyaf and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
According to Legarda, such proposition is difficult since some advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations critical of the government had been unneccessarily red-tagged or regarded as “enemies of the state.”
Legarda said if lawmakers see and study what they actually believe and want “it is social justice” and “uplifting people from poverty for decades without bearing arms.”