MANILA, June 10 (Mabuhay)–

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday questioned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s opposition to the controversial antiterror bill which he authored and is now transmitted to the Palace.

“Ang Australia, very strong democracy kaya medyo ano ako, with all due respect kay Miss Universe Catriona Gray, ’di ba Australian siya? E kumokontra rin siya pero [ang] batas sa Australia mas matindi sa batas natin,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

“Hinango natin ang ibang portion ng batas sa Australia, pinapatulong namin dito. Ilang beses tayo nakipag-meeting sa kanila [Australia]. Ilang beses ako nakipag-meeting sa kawani ng US Embassy. Kasi we cannot do it alone because ’yan ang universal standard,” he added.

Lacson previously explained that the proposed 14-day detention period for arrested suspected terrorists, extendable by 10 days, has been patterned on existing laws in Australia and Sri Lanka.

“Halimbawa Indonesia, mahaba, 21 days tapos pwede mag-extend. Ang Singapore 720 days, pwede indefinite. Ang Malaysia 59 days pwede i-extend. Ang in-adopt namin pinakamababang period na sa Australia and Sri Lanka. So tayo ang pinakamabait kung sa period of detention ang pag-uusapan,” he said.

Amid public clamor to junk the said bill over concerns on possible human rights abuses, the Filipina beauty queen who was raised in Australia recently shared a portion of a statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on her Instagram and Twitter accounts. 

“If a law to fight terrorism is to be contemplated, let the respect and defense of human rights be paramount consideration,” her posts read.

“There is so much happening in the world and in our nation right now, and I know a lot of us want to just tune out because it all gets a bit overwhelming. But please, don’t allow that to be the reason we revert into silence and turn a blind eye,” Gray said in another tweet.

Lacson underscored that his parameters during the crafting of the anti-terror bill was that it would not end up being another “dead-letter” law like the Human Security Act of 2007.

He reiterated that the proposed measure was passed by lawmakers in the hopes that the Philippines will not turn into a safe haven for terrorists.

“Sa ngayon ang Global Terrorism Index ng 2019, sa buong mundo, ang PH ang 9th sa pinaka-negatively affected by terrorism. Ninth tayo sa pinakamaraming napatay, sa domestic and foreign terrorists, sa pinakamaraming nasirang properties,” Lacson said.

The final version of the bill, approved by both houses of Congress, was officially transmitted to Malacanang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature on Tuesday.

“Prerogative ng ating Presidente, ayon sa Constitution na kapag may panukalang batas na enrolled bill sa Malacanang, meron siyang 30 araw para pag-aralan. Pag ’di niya ito napirmahan sa loob ng 30 araw magiging batas na rin ito. Pero pwede i-veto,” Lacson said.

“Wala tayong magagawa roon kasi constitutional prerogative or right ng Pangulo. That’s how legislation works. Ngayon kung pirmahan niya, maging batas ito once ma-publish ito sa publication na tinatawag, magiging effective ito. Pero magbabalangkas pa rin ng IRR. Doon sa IRR mas mahihimay pa ang panuntunan kung paano ma-implement ito (We can’t do anything about it because it is a constitutional prerogative or right of the President. That’s how legislation works. Now if he signs it, then it will become a law after the publication for it to be in effect. But its IRR will be crafted afterward. On IRR, it will be scrutinized how this is to be implemented),” he added.  (MNS)