Albayalde hopes Senate will prioritize amendments to Human Security Act
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Monday said he hopes the Senate would prioritize the bill seeking amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 as part of the efforts to counter terrorism once the 18th Congress opens on July 22.
Albayalde noted how some of the current provisions of the law, also known as Republic Act 9372, are “disadvantageous” to state security forces, including the P500,000 fine per day for members of state troopers who had wrongfully detained a suspected terrorist.
“Hopefully ma-approve ‘yan. Hopefully maging priority bill ‘yan (Hopefully it gets approved. Hopefully it becomes a priority bill),” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
In the last few days of the 17th Congress, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the upper chamber would prioritize Senate Bill No. 2204, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2019, which seeks amendments to the Human Security Act.
The bill was stuck pending second reading at the Senate.
On July 2, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, also former PNP chief, filed Senate Bill No. 21, seeking to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 to “give the government an effective legal framework that would enable it to have a criminal justice response to terrorism.”
“Talagang medyo tagilid ‘yung Human Security act natin. If you will see, ‘yun lang mga provision doon na kapag magkoconduct ka ng surveillance sa tao, kailangan ipaalam mo sa tao. Mahirap ata ‘yun,” Albayalde said.
(Our Human Security Act really has loopholes. If you will see, the provision where someone conducting surveillance should tell the concerned person that he is being monitored is hard.)
He also called for increasing the authorized period of detention for a suspected terrorist, which, under the law, is only limited to three days or 72 hours.
He said even foreign counterparts of the PNP had noticed loopholes in the current law, which he said unconsciously protects criminals.
In other countries, Albayalde said suspected terrorists can be detained for a month even without a case filed in court, given that the evidence is strong against the person.
“Dito if magke-case build up ka sa isang tao, kung minsan hindi talaga kaya ‘yung 72 hours (Here in the country, building a case against a person for 72 hours is sometimes impossible),” he said./ac
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