By Junex Doronio
BULLISH ON THE EFFECTVITY of the Anti-Terror Act, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has expressed hopes to nail a suspected Indonesian suicide bomber who was arrested in Sulu with two other women believed to be wives of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf members.
The arrest of Indonesian national Nana Isirani (a.k.a. Rezky Fantasya Rullie or Cici) looms as a potential test case for the enacted Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 – particularly its provision penalizing “inchoate offenses.”
“This is one example of an inchoate offense made punishable under the new Anti-Terrorism Law. By including inchoate offenses as punishable acts under the new measure, we are criminalizing the foregoing acts of the arrested suspects which include planning, preparation and facilitation of terrorism and possession of objects with knowledge or intent that these are to be used in the preparation for the commission of terrorism,” Lacson, who sponsored the anti-terrorism measure in the Senate, said in his speech before the Philippine Army Multi-Sector Advisory Board Summit.
Lacson noted that the bombs and other items seized from Isirani indicated she was preparing to take part in a terrorist attack.
Isirani was arrested with two other women believed to be wives of Abu Sayyaf members in Jolo, Sulu last Oct. 10.
Authorities confiscated items including an improvised explosive device disguised as a vest, container pipes, and a nine-volt battery.
The feisty senator from Cavite pointed out one of the new features in the Anti-Terrorism Law (Republic Act 11479) is the penalizing of “inchoate offenses,” or preparatory acts that are deemed criminal even without the actual harm being done, provided that the harm that would have occurred is one the law tries to prevent, such as terrorism.
He further stressed that this new feature aims to prevent terrorism even before the actual commission of the violent terrorist act by making planning, preparing, and facilitating acts of terrorism as independent criminal acts already punishable by reclusion perpetua without the benefit of parole.
Penalizing inchoate offenses is made pursuant to the mandate under United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1373, which states that planning and preparation, among others, are established as serious criminal offenses in domestic laws and that the punishment should duly reflect the seriousness of such terrorist act.
Lacson reiterated that while the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 gives authorities the legal backbone to fight terrorism, it also puts a premium on respect for the rule of law and constitutional liberties such as the right to due process.