Drilon ready to defend anti-terror law: ‘I can face anyone’
MANILA, Philippines — As the only minority senator to vote in favor of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he is ready to defend the controversial measure, saying that he tried his best to strike a balance between protecting the people’s rights and equipping the state against terrorism.
“I exerted every effort for a balance between the human rights of individuals and the need for the state to repel terrorism,” Drilon said during an online media forum on Tuesday.
“I can face anyone and say I tried to do my best in order to make a balance. I signed it on the basis of my best judgment that this strikes a balance between protecting our people against abuse by the state and protecting the state itself,” he added.
According to the senator, he introduced 14 amendments to the measure when it was still being deliberated in the Senate.
He said his amendments were “designed to balance off [the bill] and to protect the rights of our people.”
“All I can say is I tried my best. I have no ulterior motive, no political agenda insofar as this bill is concerned,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which is seen to give more teeth to the country’s anti-terrorism policies.
Before it was enacted into law, several groups and lawmakers expressed concern that several of its provisions could be used to crackdown on dissent.
The controversial law currently faces several petitions before the Supreme Court questioning its constitutionality.
Whether or not the safeguards placed in the measure to prevent abuses are sufficient, Drilon said it would be up to the Supreme Court to determine so.
“It was an effort to balance the needs of the state and the rights of the people. Whether or not that is sufficiently answered…is a question that the Supreme Court must have to resolve,” he said.
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