MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday criticized a United Nations official who advocated against his Anti-Terror Bill, alleging that the body's Commissioner for Human Rights did not read the actual measure.
Earlier this week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged President Rodrigo Duterte not to sign the controversial bill, warning against its potential "chilling effect" on humanitarian and human rights work.
"The problem with the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Bill like the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the others is that they criticize without even reading the bill itself," Lacson said in a statement.
"There are people, learned as they are, merely jumped into the wagon of criticisms without thoroughly reading and understanding the provisions under the proposed measure," he said.
Congress submitted the Anti-Terror Bill for Duterte's signature last month despite online protests against the measure.
Some Filipinos have been campaigning against the bill, saying it can be used to silence opposition members and critics of the government.
The "misinterpretations and misconceptions" against the Anti-Terror Bill were due to the "avalanche of misinformation and disinformation that dominated the mainstream and social media platforms," said the senator, who sponsored the bill in the Senate.
Lacson underscored that the "designation" and the "proscription" of individuals as terrorists are different things.
"Designation as defined under the bill is a purely administrative process intended to trigger the issuance of a freeze order by the Anti-Money Laundering Council," Lacson said.
"Proscription, on the other hand, needs court intervention that requires due notice and hearing by the Court of Appeals," he said.
Lacson had said that he would join protests should authorities commit abuses in implementing the proposed measure.
On Thursday, Palace officials said the bill is already under "final review" before the President decides if he would sign it into law.
The President is "inclined" to approve the measure, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.
"I can assure you, the Anti-Terror Bill is a good law - one that is swift, effective and most importantly, constitutional," Lacson said.