Malacañang: Chances of a presidential veto against Anti-Terrorism Bill are low
Marje Pelayo • June 15, 2020 • 370
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte early this month certified as urgent the Anti-Terrorism Bill that seeks to amend the over a decade old Human Security Act.
Despite mounting criticisms especially from human rights advocates, Malacañang is confident that there is little chance it would be vetoed by that the President.
“Hindi naman para i-veto ni Presidente ang isang panukalang batas na sinertify as urgent niya so, parang iyong expectations,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque though he is not sure if the version that the Congress passed is the same urgent bill signed by the President.
Nonetheless, the Palace official clarified that the bill did not come from the Office of the President but a measure that has been stalled in Congress for years already.
President Duterte has 20 days to act on the bill. He may opt to veto, sign or unsign it and let it lapse into law.
The bill will also go through the scrutiny of various offices in the Executive Branch namely the Office of the Executive Secretary, Deputy Executive Secretary, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and even the Department of Justice (DOJ), and no less than the President himself who is a lawyer.
The DOJ is expected to issue a comment on the proposed legislation by June 17.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured that the DOJ is dealing with the issue with impartiality especially as it concerns national security and human rights.
“We’ll review the proposed anti-terrorism bill as independently and objectively as possible, with only the security of the nation and the civil and political rights of the people in mind,” he said.
Meanwhile, the author of the bill, Senator Panfilo Lacson, said he will personally keep an eye on the implementation of the Anti-Terror Bill should it be enacted into law to ensure that the rights of every Filipino citizen is protected.
“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,” he accrued the public in a statement.
He stressed that the bill has enough safeguards so as not to be used as an instrument for abuse, one of which is the provision of 10 years jail term to any person in authority who will commit an act that is against it. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Phillippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte should just implement the anti-graft laws to all violators instead of resigning if he wants to end corruption in the government.
“Instead of resigning, the President only needs to be consistent in applying the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson issued the statement after Duterte said he has offered to step down from office out of frustration over the rampant corruption in the country.
“Ewan ko kung sabihin ko ito sa inyo. I offered to resign as president. Pinatawag ko yung lahat, sabi ko, ‘Kasi nagsasawa na ako. In my years of government […] talagang wala na katapusan itong korupsyon. Mahirap talaga pigilin,” Duterte said during his public address late Monday night.
The president’s remarks follows on the heels of fresh allegations of irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Duterte earlier promised to fire officials over just “a whiff” of corruption.
“Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way,” Lacson said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said that it is the corrupt officials who should be resigning and not Duterte.
“Dapat ‘yung mga corrupt sa gobyerno makaisip noon, hindi siya. He was elected by the country, he cannot turn his back on the specified task by the Filipinos! I don’t think he means it,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
As for Duterte’s offer to appear before a Congressional hearing to tackle corruption, Lacson said it may not be necessary.
“In fact, the Senate is already proposing in a bill to give him Bayanihan-like powers to address red tape in government,” he said.
Lacson was referring to Senate Bill 1844 which seeks to authorize the president to expedite the issuance of national and local permits and licenses in times of national emergency to address corruption and red tape in the government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday expressed his belief that the proposal to suspend the security assistance provided by the United States to the Philippines “will not only be our loss but theirs as well.”
Lacson issued the statement after a bill seeking such move was introduced to US Congress.
While he recognized the authority of members of US Congress to file a legislative measure “under any circumstance,” the senator said that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism.
Lacson, who chairs the Philippine Senate committee on national defense, stressed that terrorism knows no borders and timing, and that the US lawmakers “know that for a fact.”
Pennsylvania Representative Susan Wild earlier pushed the proposed Philippine Human Rights Act before the US Congress which seeks to block security funding to the Philippines until the government has made “certain reforms to the military and police forces.”
“Across the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal regime is using the pretext of a so-called “Anti-Terrorism Law” to ramp up efforts targeting labor organizers, workers, and political opponents… In response to these abuses, I introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act to block U.S. funding for police or military assistance to the Philippines outlining a series of basic criteria which would have to be met in order to resume such funding,” she said.
Lacson said that as part of the legislative process, the bill will have “to go through the mill of first reading and referral, committee hearings and floor debates.”
“If adopted and approved, the said bill — H.R. 8313 — will not only be our loss but theirs as well, considering that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism, which knows no borders and timing. And they know that for a fact,” he added.
Lacson further said that in deliberating on the bill, US lawmakers may have to consider and resolve as a legal issue the existing Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Manila and Washington.
The VFA came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.
In February, the Philippines moved to terminate the accord but was later suspended for six months in June. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, on Thursday urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to aim for an “excellent” speed of internet connection.
Lacson made the remark in response to the view of DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II that the Philippines “is not doing too badly” in terms of internet speed performance during his agency’s 2021 budget hearing in Congress.
“With all due respect to a highly regarded Cavalier and distinguished former Senate colleague, “not so bad” may sound worse than ‘not so good,’” he said in a statement.
Honasan earlier said that while other countries have 55 megabytes per second (mbps) internet speeds, the 3 to 7mbps internet speed in the country “is not that bad” amid complaints over slow speed.
“In the middle of a pandemic when the order of the day is virtual communication, what we want to hear, at least realistically, is ‘good enough,’” Lacson said.
“Of course, it goes without saying, ‘very good’ or even ‘excellent’ is what we all want to hear from DICT. Clearly, there is much room for improvement,” he added.
According to the DICT, the country’s current internet speed could reach up to 25.07mbps, compared to the maximum 7.91mbps in 2016.
The agency said the country’s slower internet connection is due to lack of telecommunications infrastructure compared to other countries that have fix broadbands which require lots of telecommunication towers and fiber optic cables.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.