Muntinlupa City Rep. Rufino Biazon is seeking to lower the P500,000 per day penalty against law enforcers over the false prosecution of suspected terrorists.
Biazon said the provision under the Human Security Act of 2007 has been a stumbling block for authorities to run after terrorists.
"Under the law, a terrorist is defined someone with a violent action and demand on the government," he said.
"However, if suspected terrorist is proven not guilty, the law mandates a P500,000 daily fine," he added.
Because of this, law enforcers are hindered to apply the law on a suspected terrorist, Biazon said, adding "in most instance, only the Revised Penal Code is applied."
"Can you imagine if the accused (terrorist) has been detained for 30 days, and then he gets absolved? You multiply 30 days with P500,000 fine a day," he said.
"May be, we could lower the amount. It is not even clear in the law who should pay the fine,” Biazon said.
Last month, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, filed Senate Bill No. 1083 seeking to allow the detention of suspected terrorists for a non-extendable period of 14 days without charges.
Lacson's bill also sought to scrap the P500,000 fine per day.
“Under the current Human Security Act, there are only four instances for terrorists to be prosecuted under the law. These are: commission of the actual crime of terrorism; conspiracy to commit terrorism; accomplice; and accessory,” the senator said.
“On the other hand, there are a total of 20 instances where law enforcers can be charged and penalized for violations of the Human Security Act. Add to this the penalty of P500,000 per day to be paid by the government to anyone erroneously detained for possible terrorism. This is not only irrational, it borders on the absurd,” Lacson added.
Lacson said the said provisions have resulted in only one conviction under the Human Security Act more than a decade after it was passed into law.
“We hear of terrorist attacks happening, with a mounting number of those killed and injured. One conviction – that alone is enough proof of the ineptness and inadequacy of the current law,” he said.
“We need a legal framework for anti-terrorism that is clear, concise, balanced, and rational, which is the very backbone of this measure under consideration.”