MANILA, July 18 (Mabuhay) — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday questioned the moral ascendancy of some US Congress members to oppose and criticize the Philippines’ anti-terror law.

“I wonder how many among those 50 or so members of the US Congress voted in favor of their own country’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001… These US Congress members should shut up unless they admit to being a bunch of hypocrites,” Lacson, principal sponsor of the recently-signed law, said in a statement.

“While our Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is replete with safeguards to ensure that human rights of suspected terrorists are observed and protected, what the US Congress passed as their version of an Anti-Terrorism law is much stronger, even cruel to some extent,” he added.

Lacson claimed that the anti-terror law of the Philippines does not have a provision for a “Guantánamo Bay-like detention facility” where suspected terrorists are indefintiely detained without trial and where torture and violations of human rights have been reported by Amnesty International.

He added that the measure does not allow the “one-party consent” to conduct electronic or technical surveillance.

At least 45 US lawmakers urged the Philippine government to repeal the anti-terror law which President Rodrigo Duterte signed earlier this month.

In response, Malacañang insisted that the country is no longer an American colony and that it has its own working judicial system to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

Several groups immediately challenged the legality of the measure before the Supreme Court for fears that it could be used to stifle activism and promote more human rights abuses.

Among the controversial provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act that have been pointed out by critics were the extension of the 36-hour detention period for those arrested without warrant to up to 24 days; the court’s issuance of a preliminary proscription order against suspected terrorists within 72 hours; and the allegedly “ambiguous” definition of what constitutes terrorism. (MNS)

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