Lacson dismisses IBP's fear anti-terror council could authorize arrest of suspected terrorists | Inquirer News
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Lacson dismisses IBP’s fear anti-terror council could authorize arrest of suspected terrorists

/ 09:20 PM June 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday dismissed concerns of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) that the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) could authorize the arrest of suspected terrorists.

The ATC, which would be created under the controversial anti-terror bill, will be chaired by the executive secretary and composed of secretaries of justice, foreign affairs, national defense, the interior, and local government and finance, and the national security adviser.

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The IBP had said that the anti-terror bill, which now only awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before becoming law, contains unconstitutional provisions.

Among these include the creation of the ATC, which the IBP said would be granted the authority to allow the “taking into custody” of suspected terrorists under the measure.

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But Lacson, one of the main proponents of the bill in the Senate, said the ATC would not be authorized to order arrests.

“NO SIR! It is ONLY to request the [Anti-Money Laundering Council] freeze the accounts and the [Court of Appeals] to issue an order to wiretap, NOT arrest,” the senator said over Twitter as a response to IBP’s statement.

‘Clear, specific’

Lacson also stressed that the bill’s provisions are “clear and specific.”

“All laws, without exception, are subject to interpretation by lawyers and ordinary citizens. In the end, the only one that matters is that of the Supreme Court. Rational public discourse is always encouraged,” he said in a separate tweet.

The lawmaker further scored critics of the measures, saying they “have now shifted their aim to target the implementation.”

“They have mastered the art of argumentation – when you run out of sound reasons to argue, just say: BASTA!” he said.

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III, another main proponent of the anti-terror bill, agreed with his colleague and also chided dissenters of the measure.

“Tama si Ping, nuong hindi umubra mga pintas nila sa laman ng bill dahil wala mga sinasabi nila, sa implementasyon naman ang target. Futuristic? Ano ba talaga?” Sotto said on Twitter.

(Ping is right, when their criticism of what is under the bill did not work, they will now target its implementation. Futuristic? What is this really about?)

“Ganun ganun na lang kung murahin nila si [President Duterte], ngayon nananawagan sila sa kanya?” he said in a separate tweet, seemingly referring to those calling on the President to veto the bill. Sotto, however, did not mention specific names.

(It was easy for them to curse the President, and then they will appeal to him?)

Sotto and Lacson have repeatedly defended the measure, assuring that there are “enough safeguards in place.”

Lacson, in another tweet, noted that six members of his Senate legislative staff are members of the IBP.

“They help me explain the issues and concerns raised against the anti-terror bill since they did all the legal research and assisted me in sponsoring and defending this proposed measure on the Senate floor,” he said.

But while the measure is seen to toughen up the country’s anti-terrorism policies, various groups raised concerns that this would spur human rights violations and suppress dissent.

With the enrolled copy of the bill already in the hands of Duterte, calls also mounted for the chief executive to veto the measure.

Duterte could either sign the bill into law immediately or veto it. He could also let it lapse into law.

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TAGS: Anti-Terrorism Council, anti-terrorism law, IBP, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Nation, News, Senator Panfilo Lacson
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