'Balance between rights and preventing terrorism': Drilon justifies support for anti-terror law

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 03:36 PM

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. November 19, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File Photo

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday defended his support for the passage of the controversial anti-terror law, saying he "exerted every effort" to balance "human rights and the need of the State to repel terrorism."

Drilon, the lone minority senator to sign the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, said that prior to the passage of the measure, he introduced 14 amendments "designed to protect the rights of our people."

"I can face anyone and say that I tried to do my best in order to make a balance on this," Drilon said in an online version of the Kapihan sa Manila Bay.

"I have tried my best. I have no ulterior motive. I have no political agenda," he said.

Drilon said the Human Security Act of 2007 had to be amended as it prevented law enforcers from filing charges against suspected terrorists.

"It was in my desire to have a balance between preventing terrorism from taking roots in our country and balance it with the rights of our people," he said.

"It strikes a balance between protecting our people from abuses by the state and protecting the state itself," the former Justice Secretary said.

The law has enough safeguards against human rights abuses, but there is a "question of trust" on its implementation, Drilon admitted.

"It is a question of trust but you cannot legislate trust," he said.

"Respect is always earned, never imposed. Trust is always earned, never imposed."

Drilon said it is up to the Supreme Court to decide if the new law, which is expected to take effect in a few days, violates rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Several petitions questioning the constitutionality of the law have been filed before the high court.