Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday cited the passage of the anti-terrorism law and the creation of the government anti-insurgency task force among the Duterte administration's accomplishments.
Lorenzana made the citation during Day 1 of the Duterte Legacy Summit, which was presented by the Palace to showcase the gains of the country under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.
"We are for rule of law. Nariyan ang nilagdaan ang anti-terrorism law na tiyak na makakatulong sa ating law enforcement agencies na protektahan ang ating komunidad laban sa terrorismo," Lorenzana said.
(The President signed the anti-terror law which will help authorities protect communities against terrorism.)
Groups have challenged the legality of the anti-terrorism law before the Supreme Court because of its provision allowing authorities to detain suspected terrorists for as long as 24 days without an arrest warrant, which is way longer than the three days provided under the Constitution.
The Supreme Court eventually ruled that two of the law's provisions that vaguely and broadly define acts of terror as illegal. These provisions are:
- Section 4 which states that dissent is not deemed terrorism provided that they are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person's life, or to create a serious risk to public safety and
- Section 25, Paragraph 2 which states that a request for a terrorist designation by other jurisdictions of supranational jurisdictions may be adopted by the ATC after a determination that the proposed designee meets the criteria for designation of United Nations Security Council
Meanwhile, Lorenzana lauded Duterte's Executive Order 70 that established the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), saying such task force provides barangay development programs that rid barangays of communists.
Lorenzana said NTF-ELCAC paved the way for 2,318 barangay development programs, including 103 indigenous people villages.
Moreover, Lorenzana said the task force was able to clear 4,148 barangays of New People's Army (NPA) rebels and was able to file 1,403 criminal complaints against communist rebels.
"Of this number, 800 cases are under government prosecutoes, while 24 of them were convictions," Lorenzana said.
NTF-ELCAC, however, has been accused of red-tagging, with its spokesperson, Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, facing a number of complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for linking several individuals, including opposition members, to communist rebels.
For his part, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea is concerned, the Duterte administration was able to improve the lives of the Filipinos.
"Our success as workers in government is not gauged by the number of monuments we have built, nor is it weighed by the amount of funds we have accumulated. It is measured by the actual lives we changed for the better. To my fellow workers in government, you have all made this change possible," Medialdea said during the same event.
"I am confident that President Duterte's legacy will be talked about in the years ahead and felt by generations to come. I am certain that we are leaving a far better Philippines than what was handed to us six years ago," he added. —KBK, GMA News