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PNP: Peace and order nationwide ‘stable’ on first day of anti-terrorism law


The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday said the peace and order in the country remains stable with the continued decrease in crime incidents.

“Peace and order nationwide remains stable as crime rate continues to register a downward trend with 51-percent decrease in crime incidents for a period of 124 days of community quarantine,” Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac told GMA News Online.

Banac made the statement when asked about an update on police operations on the first day of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which took effect on July 18, Saturday.

According to him, the PNP is still waiting for the IRR of the anti-terrorism law. For now, Banac said the PNP assures readiness and vigilance against terrorism and crimes.

“The Philippine National Police awaits the Implementing Rules and Regulations to be drawn up by Anti-Terrorism Council,” he added.

“Meanwhile, PNP assures its continued readiness and vigilance to respond to threats of terrorism and prevent occurrence or crimes amid pandemic,” he added.

Duterte signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or Republic Act 11479 on July 3 despite objections from local human rights organizations, business groups, lawyers' groups, the United Nations human rights body, and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

Several petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 questioning its constitutionality.

Critics have warned against the up-to 24-day warrantless detention period for suspected terrorists, who will be identified by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

The measure states that any person found guilty by the court of planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism will be penalized with life imprisonment without the benefit of parole. The same penalty will be imposed on a person found guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Under the measure, any person who will threaten to commit terrorism will be imprisoned for 12 years.

The same jail term will be imposed on those who will propose any terroristic act or incite others to commit terrorism.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who authored the bill at the Senate, earlier expressed confidence that the law could withstand scrutiny.

He said the Anti-Terror Law has enough safeguards and he will be "eagled-eyed and vigilant" in guarding against abuses himself.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, said he believes the SC will not be intimidated by the number of petitions filed against the law. — BM, GMA News