Lacson releases copy of Castro’s lobby letter seeking P258 million

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2019   •   1469

Senator Panfilo Lacson has released a copy of Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro’s alleged lobby letter seeking financial assistance worth P258 million.

In a statement published on Thursday (September 26), Lacson belied Castro’s statement that the said letter was ‘fictional.’

“In a letter dated Sept. 19, 2019, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro lobbied with Sen. Lacson for financial assistance to construct a municipal building for Dumalag town, costing P258 million,” the statement reads.

Lacson also posted on Twitter that Castro and his co-conspirators in the House had allegedly illegally inserted P95B in the 2019 national budget which was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

On Thursday Castro said the letter was not related to pork barrel.

“It was not a lobby letter. It’s a letter-request just like any other letters I sent to other senators,” he said in a statement. “Lobbying is different. My letter-request shows my resolve to help my constituents. It’s not pork barrel.”—AAC

Lacson still undecided on 2022 presidential bid

Marje Pelayo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson is among those rumored to run in the presidential elections next year side by side with Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Though Sotto confirmed he is considering the vice presidential race, his preferred presidential running mate is yet to decide on the matter.

Lacson said they are still weighing things as of the moment and the decision is not yet final.

The former police chief still has one term in the Senate but he is weighing two options regarding his career – to run for president or to retire from public service.

“Sabi ko sige, hindi ko muna isara yung pinto pero baka pwedeng magkonsulta tayo sa mga nakakaalam para i-measure natin yung ating kapasidad kung kaya ba nating tugunan yung naglalakihang problema ng bansa,” Lacson said.

“Kasi kung hindi rin lang natin kakayanin, bakit pa? Anong legacy pa ang ating gustong ialay? Sabi niya, ‘Gusto ko lang ipakita na kayang i-solve ang illegal drugs’,” Lacson said quoting his conversation with Sotto.

In case Lacson decides not to pursue a bid, he said his support remains with Sotto.

Lacson confirmed he was offered to run as nominee of the 1Sambayan Coalition.

But he is more likely to turn down the offer after a comment by retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on him being the principal sponsor of the Anti-Terrorism Law in the Senate.

Carpio was among the petitioners of the law in the Supreme Court.

“Kasi sa akin, any self respecting person or individual, na-preclude ka na tapos ngayon iimbitahin ka. Meron naman siguro akong respeto sa sarili ko para, ‘ano pupunta pa ba ako sa inyo?” Lacson said of the offer.

“I am more inclined to decline than participate,” he added.

UNTV News has yet to receive a comment from the 1Sambayan on the issue.

In case he decides to run, Lacson said he is open to collaborating with other parties.

“I hope maging parehas ang laban pagdating sa social media platforms. Ngayon pa lang meron akong alam na isang high official sabihin na nating undersecretary na nag-oorganize na sa buong bansa bawat probinsya hinihingan na ng quota na mag-organize ng at least 2 trolls sa bawat probinsya,” he said.  MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Senate OKs proposed new anti-terror bill on second reading

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s fight against terrorism.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who authored and sponsored the bill, said Senate Bill 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 seeks to provide “a clear, concise, balanced and rational anti-terrorism law that adheres to regional and international standards.”

The bill includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

“With (Senate Bill 1083), we can be sure that whether the terroristic act is committed here or abroad, the perpetrator shall be within the arms of the law once he or she comes to our country,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.

He also said that the new anti-terror bill seeks to repeal the existing Human Security Act of 2007, which “did virtually nothing to deter participation in the plotting of terroristic acts.”

The measure also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

“As a responsible member of the community of nations, we are duty-bound to improve our laws to ensure that we can implement UN Security Council Resolutions, meet international standards, and fulfill state obligations with the United Nations,” Lacson said.

The measure proposes the establishment of Philippine jurisdiction over Filipino nationals who may join and fight with terrorist organizations outside the Philippines.

It would also ensure that foreign terrorists do not use the country as a transit point, a safe haven to plan and train new recruits for terrorist attacks in other countries.

“We send a strong message to them: You are not welcome here. If you dare set foot in our country, you will be dealt with the full power of our laws,” Lacson said, adding that the penalty of life imprisonment without the benefit of parole will be meted out to them.

The bill also removed the provision on payment of P500,000 damages per day of detention of any person acquitted of terrorism charges.

But the number of days a suspected person can be detained without a warrant of arrest is 14 calendar days, extendable by 10 days.

Despite being a tougher anti-terror law, Lacson assured the measure has enough safeguards against possible abuses by arresting officers and that amendments were crafted to ensure that the rights and wellbeing of the accused individuals or suspected terrorists inside jail facilities are protected.

The bill also introduced a new provision, designating certain Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) as Anti-Terror Courts, to ensure the speedy disposition of cases.

The use of videoconferencing for the accused and witnesses to remotely appear and testify will also be allowed under the measure.

The bill also provides for the police or the military to conduct 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists, which may be lengthened to another non-extendable period of 30 days, provided that they secure a judicial authorization from the Court of Appeals (CA).

Any law enforcement or military personnel found to have violated the rights of the accused persons shall be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years, the senator said.

To allay concerns of possible excesses by the authorities, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) shall be notified in case of detention of a suspected terrorist.

The measure also mandates the CHR to give the highest priority to the investigation and prosecution of violations of civil and political rights of persons and shall have the concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute public officials, law enforcers and other persons who may have violated the civil and political rights of suspects and detained persons.

Lacson on quo warranto petition: I see no conflict in jurisdictions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 11, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson said there is no “conflict of jurisdiction” on the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) against ABS-CBN.

In a statement, Lacson said Solicitor General Jose Calida cannot be prevented from filing the petition in the case of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

“The quo warranto petition is under the original jurisdiction of the Court. Approval or renewal of legislative franchise is the jurisdiction of both houses of Congress. As such, I see no conflict in jurisdictions,” the statement reads.

Calido’s filing of the quo warranto petition against the media network drew backlash from several Senators, including Senator Risa Hontiveros. According to her, the executive should not ‘hijack’ Congress.

“Whether or not ABS-CBN violated the terms of their franchise, the right body to tackle this is Congress and the executive should not try to hijack this through the judiciary,” she said in a media interview.

Lacson said that based on Article VIII, Sec 5, Paragraph 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto, among other petitions filed by the State through the Office of the Solicitor General.

“Congress is likewise not prevented from exercising its powers under the same Constitution to act on the application for renewal or a new franchise,” Lacson added.

Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to revoke the existing franchise of ABS-CBN due to franchise violations.

“The legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., must be revoked. A franchise is a special privilege granted by the State, and should be restricted only to entities which faithfully adhere to our Constitution and laws,” Calida said in a statement.—AAC

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