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Suicide bomber’s arrest test case for ACT of 2020

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday echoed observation of some lawmakers that the suspected Indonesian suicide bomber who was recently arrested in Sulu is a test case for the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

I agree (with Senator Panfilo Lacson),” Guevarra said in a message to reporters, commenting Lacson’s remarks that bombs and other items seized from Nana Isirani a.k.a. Rezky Fantasya Rullie or “Cici” indicated that she was preparing to take part in a terrorist attack.

On Tuesday, Lacson said the act of the Indonesian suspect is a clear example of an “inchoate offense” which is punishable under the law.

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,” Lacson, who sponsored the anti-terrorism measure in the Senate, said.

Isirani was arrested along with two other women believed to be wives of Abu Sayyaf members in Jolo, Sulu on Oct. 10. They yielded an improvised explosive device disguised as a vest, container pipes, and a nine-volt battery.

She is reportedly the eldest daughter of the Indonesian couple Rullie Rian Zeke and his wife Ulfah Handayani who were behind the Jolo Cathedral bomb attack in January 2019 which claimed 23 lives. Her husband Andi Baso aka “Zikri” is said to be behind similar attacks on churches in other countries.

Guevarra, meanwhile, said he does not expect new or supplemental petitions to be filed questioning the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and clarified the rules do not amend or expand the law itself in any way.

If the law falls (in the petitions before the Supreme Court), the IRR automatically falls (as there will be) no leg to stand on,” Guevarra said.