Philippine Senators laud President Duterte for signing anti-terror bill

MANILA – Several senators on Friday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law the anti-terrorism bill despite mounting opposition from various sectors over fears that it could be used to silence government critics and stifle dissent. 

Senator Panfilo Lacson, author of the anti-terrorism bill, credited President Duterte for his strong political will in signing the “landmark legislation” that seeks to boost the country’s drive against terrorism.

 “Much credit goes to PRRD. 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 most,” he said in a statement. “I cannot imagine this measure being signed under another administration. If only for this, I take my hat off to the President,” he added. 

With the signing of the measure, the staunch advocate of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 assured the public he will “exert extra effort” in guarding against possible abuses in its implementation, notwithstanding all the safeguards incorporated in the bill. 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III likewise defended President Duterte’s signing of the measure which he said is “full of safeguards” against perceived abuses that may be committed by state security forces during its implementation. 

“It’s full of safeguards but strong against terrorists. Unlike the old law, it was subject to abuse by the terrorists,” Sotto said in a separate statement. 

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Tolentino said the signing of the anti-terror law is “very timely and historic” as it is a measure “needed by our Nation.” “It just goes to show that a stable peace and order climate should go hand (in hand) with economic rejuvenation post Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). We should all support this measure,” Tolentino said in another statement. (PNA)