Lorenzana rebukes ‘nitpicking’ Reds over new anti-terror bill

By Priam Nepomuceno

June 1, 2020, 9:52 am

<p>Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana scored communist rebels and their allies for painting a negative impression on a new measure that will boost the country's anti-terrorism law.

"What these detractors, mostly Reds and their allies, have done is to pick some provisions and add their own interpretations to scare people. People need not fear. The proposed law has safeguards of civil liberties and sanctions to law enforcement agencies," he said in a message to reporters late Sunday.

Lorenzana also assured the public that this law will not be used against the political opposition and progressive groups, adding that it was intensively tackled and debated during deliberations.

"This bill was deliberated lengthily by both Houses and all sectors were invited as resource persons during these deliberations. All sides were heard," he added.

Earlier, Lorenzana lauded the two committees of the House of Representatives for approving a measure that will beef up the law against terrorism and effectively repealing Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

He added that a new and stronger law against terrorism is needed as the Human Security Act of 2007 is no longer capable of curbing evolving terror threats.

On Friday, the House Committee on Public Order and Safety and Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Masbate Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr. and Iloilo Rep. Raul Tupas, respectively, approved the still-unnumbered substitute bill, which seeks to prevent, prohibit and penalize terrorism.

The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 would provide a strong legal backbone to support the country's response to terrorism, provide the law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from the threat of terrorism and at the same time safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

"My comment on those opposing this measure is that their opposition is baseless as there are sufficient provisions protecting people's rights and there are penalties and punishments for law enforcers caught abusing the law. Our people have nothing to fear," Lorenzana said in Filipino in a Palace press briefing Monday.

The Senate version introduced provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will propose, incite, conspire and 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 anyone to be a member of a terrorist organization. (PNA)