'Ping' pledges to fight terror bill abuse, 'Bato' defends measure

SENATOR Panfilo "Ping" Lacson on Sunday vowed that he will not let anyone pervert the legislative intent of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 should it become law.

Lacson said that he will closely monitor and call out potential abuses in the implementation of the measure that he had painstakingly sponsored on the Senate floor.

"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," he said.

Lacson maintained the bill contains more than enough safeguards against abuse, such as 10-year jail terms and perpetual disqualification from public service for law enforcers who arrest suspected terrorists but fail to immediately inform the nearest judge and the Commission on Human Rights.

He said he would be the first to probe such abuses, which go against the legislative intent of the measure that he sponsored in the Senate.

"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," he 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 added.