Several senators laud signing of Anti-Terror Act despite oppositions
Robie de Guzman • July 3, 2020 • 1311
MANILA, Philippines – Several senators have lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 despite oppositions coming from different sectors.
“Much credit goes to PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte). With all the pressure coming from different directions against the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, at the end of the day, it is his strong political will that mattered the most,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a statement Friday.
“I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the president,” he added.
Lacson, one of the principal authors and sponsor of the measure in the Senate, vowed that he would “exert extra effort in guarding against possible abuse in its implementation, notwithstanding all the safeguards incorporated in this landmark legislation.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also expressed elation over the enactment of the controversial bill.
“I am glad that the president has sifted through the rubble and saw the importance of the law!” he said in a message to reporters.
Senator Francis Tolentino also called the signing of the law as “very timely” and “historic” as the nation needed the measure.
“It just goes to show that a stable peace and order climate should go hand [in hand] with economic rejuvenation post COVID-19,” he added.
The new law repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 and penalizes 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.
The measure allows suspected terrorists to be detained for up to 24 days without warrant. It also authorizes the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets and accounts of individuals or groups tagged as terrorists.
Before it was enacted, the bill was met with widespread opposition from different groups who raised concern over its provisions that could be abused by authorities, stifle dissent and spur human rights violations.
But Sotto said the law has enough safeguards to prevent enforcers from abusing their authority.
“It’s full of safeguards but strong against terrorists. Unlike the old law, it was subject to abuse by the terrorists,” Sotto said.
Lacson has repeatedly defended the measure, saying it has enough protection to ensure the rights of those detained.
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday maintained that the Philippine government will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and its decision to authorize an investigation into the killings under the government’s war on drugs is interference into the country’s domestic affairs.
He also stressed that the country has already withdrawn from the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the ICC.
In March 2019, the Philippines effectively withdrew from the Rome Statute after Duterte cancelled the country’s membership of the ICC’s founding treaty.
Under the ICC’s withdrawal mechanism, the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the membership period of a state.
The ICC on Wednesday said that its Pre-Trial Chamber 1 has granted then Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to formally conduct a full investigation into the Philippines’ drug war.
Bensouda previously argued that there is a reasonable basis to believe that murder has been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 in the context of the state policy.
But Panelo said the ICC can only conduct an investigation if the state’s judicial system is no longer functional, which is not the case in the Philippines.
It must also be proven that the state is unwilling to prosecute suspects in order for the ICC to launch a probe.
Panelo said ICC probers will not be allowed to enter the Philippines. He also believes that the investigation was politically motivated.
MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has called on the public to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s vice presidential bid in the upcoming 2022 elections.
The presidential daughter made the call as she reiterated her earlier stand that she will not run for president after her father formally accepted the nomination as the vice presidential bet of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.
“Mayroong kaming maayos na kasunduan ni Pangulong Duterte sa aming kani-kaniyang karera sa pulitika. Ibigay po natin sa kanya ang pinakamalakas natin na suporta sa kanyang desisyon na tumakbong vice president,” she said in a video message posted on her official social media account.
Mayor Sara earlier said she will not seek a national position in next year’s polls, adding that her father’s political plans will not affect her own.
Sara Duterte has consistently topped presidential election surveys.
Several political parties have also declared their support for the mayor should she decide to join the presidential race.
Mayor Sara thanked those who have expressed their support and trust in her capability as a leader.
“Pinapaabot ko ang aking taos pusong pasasalamat sa mahigit kumulang 700 parallel groups na nag-oorganisa para ako ay tumakbong pangulo. Ito ay isang karangalan na hindi nabibili at hindi ibinibigay sa lahat ng pulitiko… Sana ay ituloy natin ang pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan, kahit hindi para sa kandidatura o sa eleksyon,” she said.
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered Cabinet members to seek his clearance first before attending Senate inquiries.
“I will require that the Cabinet members invited to your [Senate] hearings that he will clear the invitation with me,” Duterte said in a taped public address that was aired on Tuesday.
The president issued the statement as he once again criticized the Senate for holding investigations into the government’s pandemic response for the alleged anomalous transactions and purchase of pandemic supplies.
Duterte said he is not questioning Senate’s authority to conduct investigations in aid of legislation. However, he noted that some officials invited as resource persons, especially those coming from the Executive department, have attended the hearings for hours but are not given the time to say their testimonies.
He also acknowledged the upper chamber’s power to cite a person in contempt but stressed that as the president, he can also exercise his authority over his Cabinet members.
“May option kayo to cite the person in contempt. Ako na magsabi. Ako ang may utos na hindi mag-attend,” he said.
“I think I can do it as a president really if there is an abuse of authority there or exceeding the authority of the reasonable time that the Congress conducts hearing I will limit what you can do with the Rxecutive department of the government,” he added.
He also accused lawmakers of “stretching” the hearings as part of their strategies come 2022 elections.
“Tingnan ko kung pabalik-balik na lang with no other purpose except to ramble, to stretch the hearing because that is good for election until may be the election itself. Okay man yan because you are entitled to your own strategy,” he said.
Duterte likewise said he will campaign against Senator Richard Gordon for being an “unfit” lawmaker.
Gordon is the chairman of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that is holding a probe into the government’s COVID-19 response.
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.