‘Poor intel, not old law to blame for terror acts’ – former Solicitor General Cadiz | Inquirer News

‘Poor intel, not old law to blame for terror acts’ – former Solicitor General Cadiz

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 04:53 AM March 03, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Poor intelligence work and law enforcement operations should be blamed for the government’s failure to prevent terrorist attacks in the country and not the supposed weaknesses of the previous antiterrorism law, former Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

At the resumption of oral arguments on 37 petitions opposing the terror law, lawyers of the petitioners reiterated that the Filipinos’ basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution should be safeguarded from an “overbroad” law that threatens the Bill of Rights.

Quizzed by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda, Cadiz insisted that Republic Act No. 9372, or the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, was already sufficient to deal with terrorism and that it contained provisions to stop abuses by state forces.


Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the main sponsor of Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, previously said the military and the police cited certain restrictions in the old law, such as the stiff fine of P500,000 for each day of wrongful detention of a terror suspect, that hampered their efforts to stamp out terrorism.


“In my very humble view, the HSA is enough to deter terrorism. What is really lacking is good police work and good intelligence work,” Cadiz said in response to a question from Zalameda.

“I think these are solely lacking in our jurisdiction,” the former primary state lawyer said. “[HSA] is enough to be able to combat terrorism. What should be encouraged [and] strengthened is good intelligence and police work.”

He said the old law was “better” than the new antiterror law since it listed predicate crimes, or criminal offenses committed in carrying out terror acts such as murder, piracy and rebellion.

No definition of terrorism

Zalameda noted that many countries, including the United States, New Zealand and Australia, had actually enacted stricter statutes against terrorism, which were upheld by their judicial courts.

But the magistrate said the absence of a universal definition of terrorism had allowed authorities in many countries to commit abuses.

“This lack of a comprehensive and universal definition [and] the [politicization] and misuse of terrorism have been abused by states to curb nonterrorists and even noncriminal activities,” Zalameda said.


Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the petitioners, narrated how his colleagues belonging to the supermajority in the House of Representatives “shamelessly” railroaded their own deliberations and fully adopted the Senate’s version of the measure.

“We in the minority were not heard. That’s why we went to the Supreme Court to correct [what has been done] and to invoke the expanded judicial power of review of the Supreme Court,” Lagman said during the interpellation of Associate Justice Mario Lopez.

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“What we have brought to the Supreme Court is not a political issue, but a constitutional issue. This is a violation of our Constitution, particularly the constitutional rights provided for under the Bill of Rights,” he said. INQ

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