AFP chief’s proposal to regulate social media under terror law ill-advised – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay’s suggestion to include the regulation of social media under the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is ill advised, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
“I think to say the least, it was an ill-advised statement, we cannot regulate social media. We should allow the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 to take its course,” Lacson said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
In a press briefing earlier this week, Gapay said he would propose provisions in the implementing rules and regulations of the anti-terrorism law that will regulate the usage of social media as it is the platform being used by the terrorists to radicalize and even plan terrorist acts.
Lacson, however, stressed that the anti-terror law would not “allow” the regulation of social media.
“There’s a very strong qualification that the Bill of Rights cannot be violated. So if we regulate social media or media for that matter, I don’t think the anti-terrorism law would allow that,” he said.
Several petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the anti-terror law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3 despite widespread opposition due to fears that it can be prone to abuses.
Lacson, however, expressed confidence that the law will “pass the test of constitutionality in the Supreme Court.”
“With all due respect, (former) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, he has mistaken designation with proscription,” he said.
Carpio, who is among the petitioners against the anti-terror law, earlier frowned on a provision of the law which supposedly authorizes the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to order the arrest of a suspected terrorist as well as his or her detention for up to 24 days.
“That’s two different matters. Ang proscription is a judicial process, designation is administrative, magkaiba yun e, you cannot be detained, you cannot be arrested when you are designated by the Anti-Terrorism Council. And there are parameters, very clear parameters under the law,” Lacson said.
The senator said the ATC can only issue a “written authorization” to duly designated deputies like law enforcement agents or military personnel specially tasked and trained to handle the custodial investigation of crimes involving terrorism.
“There’s so much misinterpretation or misreading of the law” Lacson said.
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