Suicide bomber’s arrest in Sulu test case for anti-terror law
Senator Panfilo Lacson said a suspected Indonesian suicide bomber, recently arrested in Sulu, looms as a potential test case for the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, particularly its provision penalizing “inchoate offenses.”
The senator on Tuesday said inchoate offenses are “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.”
The chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said that the bombs and other items seized from Nana Isirani, alias Rezky Fantasya Rullie or Cici, indicated that she was preparing to take part in a terrorist attack.
Rullie was arrested on October 10 with two other women believed to be wives of Abu Sayyaf members in Jolo, Sulu.
Authorities confiscated items, including an improvised explosive device disguised as a vest, container pipes, and a nine-volt battery.
“This is one example of an inchoate offense made punishable under the new Anti-Terrorism Law,” said Lacson during in his speech before the Philippine Army Multi-Sector Advisory Board Summit.
“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,” he said.
Penalizing inchoate offenses is made pursuant to the mandate under United Nations Security Council Resolution 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 acts.
Lacson also said he was informed on Monday night by the police investigators that Sulu Provincial Prosecutor Anna Marie Pierreangeli Ledesma had advised against the filing of cases under the new anti-terrorism law pending the release of the implementing ruleas and regulations (IRR).
Ledesma recommended instead the filing of a case in violation of RA 9516 or illegal possession of explosives against Rullie.
When Lacson learned of Ledesma’s recommendation, he contacted Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who assured him he would issue the proper guidance to the provincial prosecutor in filing charges against Rullie.
“[Secretary Guevarra told me] He stands by his earlier pronouncement that the Anti-Terrorism Law is already in effect upon its publication on July 18, 2020, and its application is not dependent upon the issuance of the IRR,” Lacson said.
Source: Manila Times