Senator Panfilo Lacson 

MANILA – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said he is not inclined to support a proposal that criminalizes subversion again.

After emerging from a Senate committee on national defense and security hearing on the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act, Lacson said he would rather push for a stronger anti-terrorism measure that would address the radicalization of students, especially minors.

“That’s [restoring the anti-subversion law] not under consideration. Na-decriminalize na ang Anti-Subversion Law (the Anti-Subversion Law was already decriminalized). Anyway, ito naman (the anti-terrorism bill) will address ang aspect ng (the aspect of) minors being recruited to join a terrorist group,” Lacson said

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has called for the reinstatement of the anti-subversion law to deter the recruitment program of leftist groups among the youth.

“I’m not inclined to support it, ang criminalize mo uli (criminalizing subversion). It encroaches on the fundamental right to a peaceful assembly, to protest. I don’t think I will support that,” Lacson said.

Lacson argued that there is nothing wrong with joining progressive organizations like Anakbayan and Kabataan party-list.

Kung magjo-join lang naman sa organizations like Kabataan party-list or Anakbayan (If they are merely joining organizations such as Kabataan party-list or Anakbayan), I don’t see any problem with that. Except of course that they are also violating the law for recruiting minors,” Lacson said.

Lacson, however, noted that once the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), are proscribed as terrorist organizations, then joining their ranks would be illegal.

“Once the proscription case filed by the DOJ (Department of Justice) has materialized, and the RTC (Regional Trial Court) na naka-pending doon mag-grant ng proscription ng (grants the pending proscription of the) CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization, then whoever joins the CPP-NPA will be considered a terrorist and therefore in violation of the Human Security Act as it is now,” he added.

Senator Francis Tolentino has already asked the DILG chief to submit a position paper regarding the anti-subversion law to be incorporated as a possible amendment to the Human Security Act.

Año said they will be drafting the proposal and would tweak the previous anti-subversion law to be more attuned to the demands of the present time.

“What we will do is draft this measure and go back to the old and siguro kung anong dapat palitan dun (look at what needs to be amended). We will have that measure to be adaptive to the current times,” Año told reporters.

Año also said he wants the local government units to spearhead the implementation of the national action plan to prevent and counter violent extremism.

“After all, the community is the most vulnerable sector. So, it can be cured with good governance and delivery of services to lessen the vulnerability,” he added. (PNA)