Lacson to join protests if new anti-terrorism law is abused



Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said he will join street protests if the implementation of the proposed new Anti-Terrorism Law would be abused.

Lacson, in a statement, said he will not allow anyone to destroy the intentions of the proposed measure, which he himself sponsored in the Senate.

“The Anti-Terrorism Bill is the wrong tree to bark at. I vow to join those who are concerned, genuinely or otherwise, about the proposed law’s implementation to be as vigilant in monitoring each and every wrongful implementation by our security forces, even to the point of joining them in street protests, just like what I did before during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Lacson said.

Lacson said that the new anti-terrorism law contains more than enough safeguards against abuse, including the 10-year jail term and perpetual disqualification from public service for law enforcers who arrest individuals for suspected terrorist activity without informing the nearest judge and the Commission on Human Rights.

He also said he will be the first one to investigate potential abuses of the law.

“I assure them that I will be the first to stand on the Senate floor and call out those responsible for abuse at the top of my voice in privilege speeches and Senate inquiries, if and when it comes to that, as I have done so before and during this current administration,” Lacson said.

“Regarding the abuses, we’ve seen them, we’ve investigated them. The cops responsible for the murder of Kian de los Santos were convicted, largely because of our Senate inquiries. We need a tough anti-terror law but with tougher safeguards to fight and defeat both,” he said.

The new Anti-Terrorism Bill is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte after it was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives earlier this month.

Prior to this, the House Committees on Public Order and Safety and on National Defense and Security adopted the Senate’s version of the measure, which has been approved on third and final reading last February./Stacy Ang

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