Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is far from the critics’ grim picture of a “Martial Law” scenario as there are sufficient safeguards to protect the rights of citizens.
In a media interview, he dismissed these allegations as mere “misinformation”, pointing out that sufficient safeguards are in place to protect civil liberties and human rights.
“Napakaraming lumalabas na misinformation about the Anti-Terrorism Bill na parang Martial Law, hindi Martial Law ‘yung Anti-Terrorism Bill, ang sabi ko nga noon pa ay there is enough safeguards, there are so many safeguards for, to safeguard the civil liberties and human rights ng mga tao kasi hindi naman basta-basta dadamputin ng law enforcement agent ‘yung tao (A lot of misinformation is being spread about the Anti-Terrorism Bill likening it to Martial Law. The Anti-Terrorism Bill cannot be equated with Martial Law as there are enough safeguards to ensure civil liberties and human rights. Law enforcement agents cannot just pick-up or arrest anybody),” Lorenzana said.
He added that activism and those expressing dissent to the government and conducting peaceful demonstrations do not fall under the auspices of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
Lorenzana said that terrorism is a unique crime as it takes a lot of planning, organization, before committing their acts of terror.
On questions why warrantless arrests are within the power of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), Lorenzana said this is because the body is involved in the daily monitoring of terrorism.
“Remember that what we are talking about here is the crime of terrorism only. The ATC is deeply involved in the daily monitoring of terrorism and it would know if an application is warranted or not. Whilst the courts, who do not monitor terrorism on a day-to-day basis, may not be able to determine if a warrantless arrest is warranted or not. Speed is needed to prevent terrorism that’s why the ATC was created,” he added. PNA