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‘No need for martial law, Anti-Terror Act is enough’

Hananeel Bordey

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Senate President Vicente Sotto and Senator Panfilo Lacson, main authors of the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL), on Tuesday opposed Army Chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana’s proposal to place Sulu province under martial law following the twin explosions that jolted Jolo town Monday.

“No need. Anti-terror law is already in place. That was one of the reasons we passed it, we are hoping it will solve the terrorism in Mindanao,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters when asked about the military official’s suggestion.

Lacson, for his part, said ATL is already a strong measure that will enable law enforcers to “better address terrorism” in Mindanao.

He, however, lamented that the implementing rules and regulations are yet to be crafted.

“Unfortunately, amidst the numerous petitions against the measure, the agencies tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations of the law have not yet issued,” he said.

Lacson said IRR could have given the security forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines the “impetus” or momentum to push the full implementation of the law with “efficacy and confidence.”

This will also “proactively” address terrorism as preparatory acts on terrorism is punishable under ATL.

“With all that said, another declaration of martial law in Mindanao or Sulu may not be necessary,” he said.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they can finish the IRR within the 90-day period provided under the ATL.

The ATL is currently facing numerous petitions before the Supreme Court.

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