Lacson counters De Lima: Cursing President won’t make you a terrorist
MANILA, Philippines — Cursing the highest official of the land does not fall under the coverage of the controversial anti-terror bill, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson gave this assurance as jailed Senator Leila de Lima warned that airing of grievances against the government may be considered “inciting to terrorism” once the proposed measure becomes a law.
But Lacson said it was clear in the measure that legitimate dissents were excluded in the definition of terrorism.
“Maliwanag sa definition ng terrorism, in-emphasize pa namin, na hindi kasali rito ang voices of dissent. Pati labor strike pinwera namin dito, pati assembly, maski murahin nila ng murahin ang Presidente hindi masasaklaw nito. Ibang kaso haharapin nila, pwedeng libel or slander,” Lacson said in an interview.
(The definition of terrorism is clear, we even emphasized that voices of dissent are not included. Even labor strikes are not covered by the bill, the assembly, and even if they repeatedly curse the President that will not be covered by this bill. They could face other charges, either libel or slander)
“Pero di masasaklaw ang legitimate exercise ng dissent at pagprotesta laban sa ating duly constituted authority. So mali. Kasi maraming kumakalat ng disinformation kaya dapat maging maingat ang publiko.”
(But legitimate exercise of dissents and protests against our duly constituted authority are not covered by the bill. So it’s wrong. There is a lot of disinformation so people should be careful.)
As chairman of the Senate committee on national defense, Lacson led the discussions on the bill until it was approved by the chamber last February.
The measure is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature after the House of Representatives adopted the Senate version on Wednesday.
Lacson insisted there is a need to amend or review the existing “dead-letter” Human Security Act, noting that only one terrorist had been convicted since its implementation 13 years ago.
He also reiterated that the new measure contains adequate safeguards to prevent possible abuses, which is being raised by critics of the proposed law.
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