A senator on Friday hit a military commander for accusing a journalist of aiding terrorists, which he said was “totally unnecessary” amid debates on the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Southern Luzon Commander Antonio G. Parlade Jr. earlier accused the journalist of aiding terrorists by spreading lies after she wrote a story about a tribal group filing a lawsuit questioning the law.
“Accusing a journalist of ‘aiding the terrorists by spreading lies,’ assuming that such comment was accurately attributed to him, surely does not help the government to convince the magistrates of the Supreme Court to rule in its favor,” Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said in a statement on Friday.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines accused the military officer of threatening those questioning the law and journalists covering the news.
“Coming at a time when the Solicitor General is defending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 against 37 petitions, particularly on the issue involving ‘overbreadth doctrine’ among others, such remarks from a high-ranking military official is uncalled for and totally unnecessary,” Mr. Lacson said.
The Supreme Court last week held its first hearing on the lawsuits.
Mr. Lacson was among the key backers of the law that also considers attacks that cause deaths or serious injury, extensive damage to property and manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport and supply of weapons as acts of terrorism.
The law also allows the government to detain suspects in jail for 14 days without a warrant of arrest, much longer than the three days previously provided by law. — Charmaine A. Tadalan