Panfilo "Ping" Lacson
|Senator of the Philippines|
|Assumed office |
June 30, 2016
June 30, 2001 – June 30, 2013
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
and Security Committee
|Assumed office |
July 23, 2019
|Preceded by||Gregorio Honasan|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
|Assumed office |
July 24, 2019
|Preceded by||Gregorio Honasan|
|Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery|
December 10, 2013 – February 10, 2015
|President||Benigno Aquino III|
|Chief of the Philippine National Police|
November 16, 1999 – February 16, 2001
|Preceded by||Edmundo L. Larroza|
|Succeeded by||Leandro Mendoza|
Panfilo Morena Lacson
June 1, 1948
Imus, Cavite, Philippines
|Political party||Partido Reporma (2021–present)|
|LDP (2001–2004) |
United Opposition (2007–2010)
|Spouse(s)||Alice de Perio|
|Alma mater||Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila |
Lyceum of the Philippines University
Philippine Military Academy
|Net worth||₱58.3 million|
(Dec. 31, 2020)
|Branch/service|| Philippine Constabulary |
Philippine National Police
|Department||Philippine National Police|
Panfilo "Ping" Morena Lacson Sr. (Tagalog pronunciation: [ˈlakson]; born June 1, 1948) is a Filipino politician and former police general serving as a Senator since 2016, and previously from 2001 to 2013. He was the Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from 1999 to 2001, and was a candidate in the 2004 presidential election.
As senator, Lacson has been the only senator (aside from the late Joker Arroyo) who has never used his PhP200-million-a-year Priority Development Assistance Fund (pork barrel) allocations. Instead, he returned all of them to the National Treasury, saving government PhP2.4 billion in 12 years. He has instead called out and pushed for the removal of dubious congressional insertions and appropriations, earning him a reputation as a "watchdog" of the national budget.
In December 2013, Lacson was appointed by then-President Benigno Aquino III as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, to lead the management and rehabilitation efforts of the central provinces in the Philippines affected by Super typhoon Yolanda. Eight months into his job, Lacson secured the approval from Aquino of the phased implementation of the rehabilitation plan for six areas in the Super-Typhoon Yolanda Destruction Corridor, especially in the Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas regions.
Panfilo Morena Lacson was born in Imus, Cavite on June 1, 1948. His late mother, Maxima, a market vendor, was a disciplinarian who instilled distinctions between right and wrong with her children. This grew to be part of his motto, "What is right must be kept right; what is wrong must be set right."
He finished grade school at the Bayang Luma Elementary School in 1960 and high school at the Imus Institute in 1964. He completed his Engineering degree at the Lyceum of the Philippines University before entering the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1967. Former senator and now DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan was his classmate.
While Lacson initially wanted to be an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, he was invited by a classmate to take the entrance exams at PMA. Lacson passed but the classmate who invited him did not.
After his graduation in 1971, Lacson was commissioned in the Philippine Constabulary (PC), then a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) responsible for maintaining peace and order and enforcement of laws in the country.
In 1996 he earned a postgraduate degree of Master in Government Management from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Meanwhile, Lacson's advocacy against the pork barrel system and the corruption associated with him was cited by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila when it conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, on March 27, 2019.
Lacson worked at the Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Command (Metrocom), Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG), commanded by the late Colonel Rolando Abadilla, from 1971 to 1986. Lacson, whose work involved mainly intelligence-gathering, rose through the ranks, becoming Lieutenant Colonel in the mid-1980s. After the 1986 People Power Revolution, he served at the PC-INP Anti-Carnapping Task Force as its commander from 1986 to 1988, as provincial commander of the Province of Isabela from 1988 to 1989, and as commander of the Cebu Metropolitan District Command (Metrodiscom) from 1989 to 1992. In 1991, he joined the then-newly created civilian Philippine National Police, or PNP, formed as a result of the merger of the military Philippine Constabulary and the civilian Integrated National Police or INP. (The INP was formed in 1975 as an integration of all local police forces in the country then under operational control of the PC.) Soon Lacson became Provincial Director of the Province of Laguna from February to July 1992. Afterwards, he was appointed Chief of Task Force Habagat at the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission from 1992 to 1995. From 1996 to April 1997, he was given the task of project officer of "Special Project Alpha." Lacson was appointed Chief of the PNP on November 18, 1999.
While serving in the Philippine Constabulary's Metropolitan Command, Lacson solving crimes, including kidnap-for-ransom incidents. In 1981, Lacson was a Lieutenant Colonel with the PC-Metrocom, when he led a team that rescued now-tycoon Robina Gokongwei-Pe, daughter of businessman John Gokongwei Jr., from a kidnap-for-ransom gang.
Robina's family offered Lacson and his team a reward, but Lacson declined it, as part of his no-take policy. Lacson explained he does not want his men to have the mentality of not helping "gusgusin" (poor) complainants who may not afford to give them a reward. The Gokongweis eventually decided to show their gratitude by donating mobile patrol vehicles to the PC, coursing it through then PC chief Maj. Gen. Fidel Ramos.
In a Twitter post, Lacson recalled advising the elder Gokongwei not to sound intimidated while negotiating with the kidnappers. He said that after Robina's rescue, the elder Gokongwei offered P400,000 as reward money, which he declined. Instead, Gokongwei donated 10 mobile cars to the PC Metrocom. Robina recounted details of the incident in her eulogy to her father.
Lacson, who would later head the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, founded the PNP Foundation in 2000, as a way for civic-minded people to give contributions for the benefit of the PNP as an institution.
During his stint in Cebu, Lacson rescued the scion of a Cebu-based retail magnate. The victim's family intended to give the money they prepared as ransom to Lacson and his operatives as a reward, but Lacson declined it. Lacson was said to have told the victim's family that a mere "thank you" was more than enough for him.
In 1992, Lacson was recruited to the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission chaired by then Vice President Joseph Estrada. Lacson headed the PACC's Task Force Habagat, which would go on to solve several kidnap-for-ransom cases.
Aside from kidnap-for-ransom gangs, jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling were also in Lacson's sights when he was in the PC, and eventually in the Philippine National Police.
In 1992, he bared an attempt by local jueteng operators in Laguna to bribe him, initially to the tune of P1.2 million a month. He rejected the offer.
Lacson maintained an all-out effort against jueteng, even if in the process he crossed paths with eventual President Joseph Estrada.
Under the Estrada administration, Lacson headed the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), bringing to zero the number of kidnap-for-ransom cases. The PAOCTF also scored high against drug trafficking, smuggling activities, carnapping, illegal possession of firearms and other nefarious activities.
As Chief PNP, Lacson eliminated the "Kotong culture" (bribe culture) among the police officers. He rationalized the distribution of financial and logistical resources by downloading 85 percent to the police frontline units, retaining only 15 percent in the police headquarters. He imposed a strict physical fitness test on all PNP members, invoking a 34-inch maximum waistline for police officers.
Lacson refused to accept bribe money from illegal gambling operators and contractors and suppliers transacting business with the PNP, declining offers of monetary rewards from kidnap-for-ransom victims after rescuing them from their captors.
Meanwhile, Lacson downloaded 85% of the PNP's budget to the operating units to improve the overall management, while removing excess privileges of top police officials.
But most importantly, Lacson stopped the practice of "kotong cops," who extort money from public utility drivers, vegetable and rice dealers, and vendors.
Under Lacson's leadership, the PNP achieved a 58% public approval rating, while Lacson got a 78% approval rating for himself.
He took an optional retirement on February 16, 2001, to run for Senator.
The Kuratong Baleleng of the 1990s was a criminal gang linked to a series of violent crimes that included kidnappings and bank robberies. In some of the robberies, the gang's members would gun down security guards and innocent bystanders.
In 1995, members of a composite task group assigned to stop robberies in Metro Manila were linked to the killing of 11 members of Kuratong Baleleng in Quezon City. The PACC was a part of the composite task force.
In 2003, the High Tribunal ordered the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to try the case against Lacson and 33 other police officials. The trial court dismissed the criminal case, finding absence of probable cause. The special prosecuting team later moved for new trial before the High Tribunal to remand case to the trial court to present new evidence against Senator Lacson, inter alia. On May 2, 2008, the Supreme Court of the Philippines resolved to take cognizance of the motion of the families of the slain Kuratong Baleleng members for revival of the murder case against police officials and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
On November 13, 2012, the Supreme Court in an en banc decision denied the government's motion to revive the case and affirmed the lower court's decision dismissing it.
On November 24, 2000, publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito were abducted in Makati. In April 2001, their burnt corpses were found by a creek in Indang, Cavite. The Department of Justice filed double murder charges against Police Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino and other police officers, including Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II and Senior Superintendent Glenn Dumlao – all members of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) headed by then Police Director-General Panfilo Lacson.
In his 2001 affidavit, Senior Superintendent Glenn Dumlao implicated then President Joseph Estrada and then Director-General Panfilo Lacson in the Dacer–Corbito Murder Case. Both Estrada and Lacson denied their involvement.
In 2009, former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao II named Lacson as the mastermind of the murders of Salvador Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito. The allegations were made in an affidavit that Mancao signed on February 14, 2009. Mancao was allegedly present when Lacson gave the hit order to then Police Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino sometime in October 2000.
Lacson denied these allegations, stating that the Office of the President had pressured Mancao to sign the affidavit.
On January 5, 2010, Lacson left the Philippines on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, shortly before charges against him were filed in court. He became a fugitive for the next fifteen months. He had been spotted in Hong Kong and Rome but was never apprehended.
On February 5, 2010, Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court in Manila issued an arrest warrant against him. On February 11, 2010, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Lacson.
On February 3, 2011, the Court of Appeals withdrew the murder charges against the senator (SP-116057). Its decision cited Mancao as "not a credible and trustworthy witness". Mancao has since turned fugitive after escaping from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation in May 2013.
Lacson returned to the country on March 26, 2011, a month after the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals' ruling on the case.
In a 2015 interview with the media, Mancao (still a fugitive) apologized to Lacson and Estrada for linking them in the Dacer–Corbito murders, admitting that he had no personal knowledge on the supposed involvement of the two. He also claimed that he was forced by the Arroyo administration to implicate their names.
Lacson was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada to head the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) and to serve as Philippine National Police Chief. Lacson's notable accomplishments were the reduction of corrupt policemen (Kotong Cops) and various organized crime syndicates engaged in kidnapping, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities. From April 30 to May 1, 2001, together with Juan Ponce Enrile, Gregorio Honasan, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Tito Sotto, he led the EDSA III protests against Gloria M. Arroyo. On May 1, 2001, the protesters stormed Malacañang Palace.
Lacson ran for senator in the 2001 elections under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), which was affiliated with Estrada's Puwersa ng Masa coalition. He won a seat in the Senate, finishing in tenth place.
In late 2006, Lacson said he might run as mayor of the city of Manila in the 2007 midterm elections. However, he rescinded that decision and instead ran for a second Senate term under the Genuine Opposition coalition. He won reelection in the 2007 senatorial elections senatorial elections, ranking third.
On March 11, 2003, Lacson delivered a speech entitled Living Without Pork, exposing the evils and temptations presented by the pork barrel system, and called for its total abolition. During deliberations on the national budget, he stated he would make sure his PDAF allocation reverted to the National Treasury – in the process saving the government some PhP2.4 billion during his first 12 years in the Senate.
Lacson's advocacy against the pork barrel system and the corruption associated with him was cited by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila when it conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, on March 27, 2019.
Lacson filed bills that aimed to improve public service, enhance reproductive health, promote investments, bolster the country's defense capabilities,
He was one of the main authors of two legislative measures of the Aquino administration, one of which was the Reproductive Health Act. The measure seeks to promote responsible parenthood and to protect the health of the mother and child by giving them access to reproductive health services. President Benigno Aquino III certified the bill as urgent, allowing Congress to pass it quickly. President Aquino signed it into law as Republic Act 10354 in December 2012.
Another legislative measure where Lacson was a main author was the Sin Tax Reform Act, which imposes higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products to deter the public from buying such products. Those who buy such products will have to pay higher taxes, whose proceeds will go to the government's universal health program.
For the Sin Tax Reform Act, Lacson had filed Senate Bill No. 2763, which sought to restructure the excise tax on alcohol products; and Senate Bill No. 2764, which sought to restructure the excise tax on tobacco products. President Aquino signed the bill into law as Republic Act 10351.
Lacson authored Senate Bill No. 2783, which strengthened further the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001. His work is now part of Republic Act No. 10167, which was approved and signed into law on June 18, 2012.
Lacson authored an amendment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act, which aims to provide more funds to the military. President Aquino signed the measure as Republic Act 10349 on December 11, 2012.
Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 2993, An Act Providing for a comprehensive law on firearms, light weapons and ammunitions, which was signed into law as Republic Act 10591.
Lacson authored the law converting Imus, Cavite from a municipality into a city. The measure became Republic Act No. 10161 on May 8, 2012.
Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 2945, which reapportioned the province of Cotabato into three legislative districts. The bill was passed into law as Republic Act 10177.
He filed resolutions that led to many officials being held accountable, whether incumbent or former. Among these were:
Another resolution, Resolution No. 660, seeks to congratulate new Cardinal and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Lacson filed resolutions commending members of the police and military for safeguarding Filipinos, including:
As fiscalizer in the Senate, Lacson initiated the investigation of the following:
See also: 2004 Philippine presidential election
Lacson ran for President in the 2004 general election against the incumbent president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. His candidacy stirred disagreements with its party president, Senator Edgardo Angara. The COMELEC decided to follow what was done in the Quirino-Avelino case splitting the certificates of votes into half. Angara appealed the case before the Supreme Court and reversed the COMELEC decision. Lacson resigned from the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) upon hearing the news.
After resigning from the LDP, Lacson continued campaigning as an independent candidate in the elections. He finished third with 10.88% of the vote, ahead of former senator Raul Roco and Bro. Eddie Villanueva.
In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, that caused widespread destruction, substantial damage and death in several areas in the country, particularly in the Visayas, President Aquino appointed Lacson as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) with the mandate of unifying the efforts of government and other agencies involved in the rehabilitation and recovery efforts. His office crafted the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) with a PhP167 billion proposed funding, which provides for an overall strategic vision and integrated short-term, medium-term and long-term programs in the Yolanda-affected areas. Lacson's efforts in the Yolanda rehabilitation led to the institutionalization of certain mechanisms on rehabilitation of calamity-affected communities.
In December 2014, Lacson tendered his irrevocable resignation as PARR which took effect in February 2015. He recommended the transition of his office's accomplishments and best practices to a permanent government agency. Lacson viewed the scheduled sunset review of Republic Act 10121, otherwise known as "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010", as an opportune time to propose possible remedial measures that will help improve the effectiveness of the law, especially on the aspect of disaster rehabilitation and recovery.
Lacson pointed out that while his mandate as PARR was to develop a rehabilitation plan, he had no authority to implement or manage funds.
Lacson originally planned to run for president in the 2016 election. However, due to low ratings in most pre-election presidential surveys, he decided to run for a senate seat as an independent candidate in the 2016 Philippine general election. He was a guest candidate in the senatorial slates of presidential candidates Jejomar Binay (UNA) and Mar Roxas (LP). He was initially listed in Senator Grace Poe's senatorial lineup, but he was eventually replaced by Edu Manzano. He was also listed in Rodrigo Duterte's (PDP–Laban) senatorial slate. However, on February 15, 2016, the Duterte-Cayetano tandem dropped their entire senatorial lineup.
Lacson, who endorsed former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas' presidential campaign, garnered around 17 million votes in the 2016 elections, earning his way to a Senate seat by ranking fourth in terms of total votes.
In the 17th Congress, Lacson filed Senate Bill 41, the National Reference Act of 2016, which seeks to establish a National ID system that can help government law enforcers deter criminality and terrorism by facilitating the processes of apprehension and prosecution. The system seeks to address the problems of constant delays and inconveniences in availing of basic public services and social security benefits due to inefficient and unreliable means of identifying the beneficiaries. The bill was signed into law as RA 11055 in late 2018.
Lacson filed Senate Bill 42, penalizing a wide range of crimes ranging from drug-related offenses to treason, terrorism, and human trafficking.
Lacson filed Senate Bill 48, which seeks to amend Republic Act 4200 to update the list of crimes where wiretapping may be deemed lawful under certain circumstances. The measure may give law enforcers more teeth against crimes like drugs, money-laundering and coups. On October 19, 2016, Lacson sponsored Senate Bill 1210, the proposed Expanded Anti-Wiretapping Act of 2016.
Other bills filed by Lacson include:
Lacson filed bills to ensure professionalism among law enforcers, including:
He filed bills seeking to streamline or update the operations of government agencies, including:
But Lacson went after abusive law enforcers, including some rogue cops who took advantage of the government's anti-drug war. At a Senate hearing on January 28, 2017, the former Lacson showed a video of police officers in civilian clothing, appearing to plant evidence in an anti-drug operation – to stress his call for internal cleansing in the PNP.
In the 18th Congress, Lacson filed Senate Bill 23, the Budget Reform for Village Empowerment Act of 2016. The bill seeks to give local government units an active role in nation building by providing them with funding for development projects.
Lacson re-filed in the 18th Congress his bills on anti-terrorism (Senate Bill 21) and anti-wiretapping (Senate Bill 22). Of the two, the Anti-Terrorism bill became part of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020. Other bills Lacson re-filed included:
Main article: Panfilo Lacson presidential campaign, 2022
On September 8, 2021, Lacson and Tito Sotto launched their bid for president and vice president respectively, for the 2022 Philippine national election. Lacson and Sotto vowed to provide a stronger response to the pandemic, and vowed to restore public trust in the government.
Lacson is the first to declare his bid for the presidency.
In late July, Lacson became chairman of Partido Reporma, a political party founded by former Philippine defense secretary Renato de Villa. De Villa was Lacson's former superior in the Philippine Constabulary. This was shortly after Lacson and Sotto announced their plans to officially launch their candidacies for the 2022 Philippine presidential election.
Meanwhile, Sotto is chairman of the Nationalist People's Coalition.
On October 6, 2021, Lacson and Sotto filed their certificates of candidacy for president and vice president respectively with the Comelec.
In late 2016, Lacson discovered and moved to take out some P8.3 billion in "pork-like" insertions made by the House of Representatives. Lacson noted that House members were allowed to identify P80 million worth of projects before the submission of the 2017 National Expenditure Program to Congress for deliberations – the pork barrel system already declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This prompted the Senate to realign P8.3 billion in the proposed 2017 national budget to cover tuition of students in state colleges and universities.
For the 2019 budget, Lacson raised questions about the post-ratification tweaks made by the House leadership to the spending bill, saying that this would violate the 1987 Constitution's Art. VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2: "Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto SHALL be allowed." He also noted P72.319 billion was slashed from the DPWH's MFO 1 and 2, which covers the Duterte administration's "Build Build Build" program. The projects under the MFO (Major Final Output) had already been planned and vetted.
Meanwhile, in the proposed 2020 budget, Lacson cited information from some House members regarding a plan to give each district P700 million, and each of 22 deputy Speakers P1.5 billion. The plan was eventually scrapped. Lacson's revelations prompted some House members to demand an apology from Lacson, but Lacson said there is nothing to apologize for, as he is guarding the budget. House members demanded that he named his sources, but Lacson refused, saying that he gets more information because he protects his sources. Lacson said that such complaints will not distract him from scrutinizing the 2020 budget bill.
On August 23, 2017, Lacson delivered a privilege speech at the Senate, where he narrated details of corruption at the Bureau of Customs. This led to Faeldon being cited in contempt by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee after he refused to testify in the probe on illegal drugs.
On September 28, Lacson filed charges against Faeldon and several others before the Office of the Ombudsman over rice smuggling in March 2017.
In a privilege speech on July 29, 2019, Lacson detailed how the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) was spending beyond its means while its higher-ups "seem to turn a blind eye." He said this was due partly to the new reimbursement rates where PhilHealth "pays per case and not by actual expenses."
Lacson also bared WellMed, a company suspended for making fake benefit claims, was still receiving payments from PhilHealth.
Also, Lacson said the family of Health Secretary and ex-officio PhilHealth chairman Francisco Duque III had entered into a lease agreement with PhilHealth's Region 1 office where the agency rented the building owned by the Duque family's EMDC in Dagupan City. Lacson said a General Information Sheet of EMDC showed Secretary Duque was among the stockholders of the company, thus indicating a conflict of interest.
In addition, Lacson said Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company owned by Secretary Duque's relatives, bids for government contracts with the DOH. The company was found in 2015 by the Food and Drug Administration of manufacturing for other companies, and was slapped a cease-and-desist order in June 2015. The FDA also ordered the recall of all drug products, but a tip that prompted an FDA inspection showed the firm was still operating. The FDA also found non-conformance with Good Manufacturing Practice.
The revelations triggered separate investigations by Malacanang and the Senate. Malacanang said that while Secretary Duque, who denied the allegations, still enjoys President Rodrigo Duterte's trust, it will not stop him from attending the congressional investigations.
On August 28, 2019, Lacson filed Senate Bill 982, an "Act Prescribing the Order of Presidential Succession." The bill was also known as the "Designated Survivor" bill due to its similarity to the US and Korean shows that featured a designated official being kept in a safe, remote area to act as president should the President and his/her successors be killed or incapacitated in a terrorist attack or major calamity. Lacson confirmed he drew inspiration from the Netflix show.
In the wake of recent quakes that hit Mindanao, Lacson filed Senate Bill 1239, updating the 1977 National Building Code. "Experience tells us that there is an urgent need to strengthen the overall policy on how buildings and structures are built in the country. Not to mention the country's geographical location along the boundary of major tectonic plates and at the center of the typhoon belt, coupled by its socially and economically vulnerable population, it becomes even more imperative to review our four-decade-old National Building Code," Lacson said.
Lacson pushed for bigger state investments in research and development, which he noted accounts for only 0.4 percent of the national budget from 2016 to 2020. To remedy this, he proposed increases in the R&D budget of the Department of Science and Technology, including a P250M increase for the Office of the Secretary; P50M increase for the Science for Change Program: Niche Center in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER); P100M for the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space); and P100M for the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) program.
He reiterated the importance of research and development in March 2020, amid government preparations to deal with the COVID-19 threat.
Lacson is one of the authors and the sponsor in the Senate of what is now Republic Act 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, 2020. The law replaces the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9372), which he noted became a dead-letter law as some of its provisions – including a P500,000 daily penalty for the wrongful detention of a suspected terrorist – discouraged law enforcers from using it to charge suspected terrorists. In more than 10 years in effect, the 2007 law resulted in just one conviction and just one proscribed terrorist organization such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, he added.
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 fills the gaps in the 2007 law by making punishable inchoate offenses – Section 6 penalizes planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism – as well as providing the mechanism allowing the freezing of assets used to finance terrorism, but does not cover protests, mass actions and other actions covered in the Bill of Rights in the 1987 Constitution.
In addressing claims the law could allow abuse, Lacson said there are safeguards such as 10-year jail terms and perpetual disqualification from public office for law enforcers who fail to comply with the requirement to report the arrest of a suspected terrorist to the nearest court and to the Commission on Human Rights. As such, he pointed out the law is "swift, effective and constitutional".
Shortly after assuming his Senate post in 2016, Lacson filed a bill providing free irrigation for farmers. The bill was consolidated in Senate Bill 1465, which along with House Bill 5670 were the basis for Republic Act 10969 – the Free Irrigation Service Act – which President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law on February 2, 2018.
Lacson chaired a Senate committee investigation into the fatal hazing of law student Horacio "Atio" Castillo III in September 2017. The probe found indications of a cover-up attempt via Facebook chat by Aegis Jvris fraternity, the organization Castillo sought to join. The probe resulted in Senate Bill 1662, which updated the existing Anti-Hazing Act of 1995 by imposing heavier penalties on hazing. The bill passed third and final reading in the Senate on February 12, 2018. It also passed the bicameral conference committee on February 28, 2018. The bill finally became a law after President Rodrigo Duterte signed it on June 29, 2018.
Under the new law, the definition of hazing was expanded to include "physical or psychological suffering, harm or injury inflicted on a recruit, member, neophyte, or applicant" as a prerequisite for admission or for continued membership in an organization. Banned under the law are "all forms of hazing" not only in fraternities, sororities or organizations in schools, but also those in communities and even businesses and uniformed service learning institutions.
The law also requires schools to be "more active and proactive" in regulating school-based initiation rites, with schools required to exercise reasonable supervision and take proactive steps to protect students from danger of participating in activities that will involve hazing. Penalties include imprisonment of up to 40 years and fines of up to PHP3 million.
Lacson filed several anti-crime bills that were passed into law, including:
* Amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act to include casinos as covered persons. It was signed into law as Republic Act 10927. Lacson also primarily authored Republic Act 9194, the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
* Restoration of subpoena powers to the PNP-CIDG. The bill was signed into law as Republic Act 10973.
* A retirement and benefits system for the Office of the Ombudsman, which is part of what is now Republic Act 11059.
* Transferring the training of police recruits to the PNP, signed into law as Republic Act 11279.
Lacson sponsored the bill seeking to establish a National ID system in the Philippines. In his sponsorship speech, Lacson said the National ID system seeks to harmonize, integrate and interconnect the "countless and redundant" government-issued ID cards. The proposed measure – Senate Bill 1738 – was approved in the Senate with a vote of 17–2 on March 19, 2018.
On August 6, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the National ID measure into law, as Republic Act 11055. Lacson, the principal sponsor of the measure and a perennial author since 2001, expressed thanks to Duterte, as it was under his term that the national ID system saw the light of day.
On February 8, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11200, which provides for a rank classification in the Philippine National Police. Lacson said the new law, where he is the principal author and sponsor, eliminates confusion on how PNP officers must be addressed, but more importantly, "allows for better coordination between the PNP and other law enforcement units in countering terrorism and other threats to national security." He added: "We cannot afford any delay in coordination in counter-terrorism operations and operations against other threats to national security."
Under the new law, the PNP's rank classification shall be as follows:
Lacson sponsored in the Senate what is now the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (Republic Act No. 11479). In his sponsorship speech for the measure in October 2019, Lacson said the country needs "a legal framework for anti-terrorism that is clear, concise, balanced, and rational." He added the 2007 Human Security Act – which the 2020 anti-terror law replaced – had become a dead-letter law, with only one conviction in the more than 10 years it was in effect.
Also, Lacson pointed out the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 fills the gaps in the 2007 law by making punishable inchoate offenses – Section 6 penalizes planning, training, preparing and facilitating the commission of terrorism – as well as providing the mechanism allowing the freezing of assets used to finance terrorism.
But he stressed the law is not meant to stifle dissent as claimed by some groups, as Section 4 makes clear it does not cover advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights that are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person's life, or to create a serious risk to public safety. Lacson said he is ready to closely monitor and call out potential abuses in the implementation of the law, adding he will not allow anyone to pervert the legislative intent of the measure that he had painstakingly sponsored on the Senate floor.
He noted the bill had gone through the gauntlet in the legislative branch, with its provisions earning the nod of constitutionalists and legal heavyweights in both houses of Congress.
Lacson also primarily authored:
He was also one of the co-authors of the following laws:
Lacson is married to Alice de Perio and he had 4 children including his son Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr., who has a son with actress and former wife Jodi Sta. Maria, and a daughter with partner Iwa Moto.
Inspired by his success story particularly in law enforcement, his life story was made into a movie entitled "Ping Lacson: Super Cop" in 2000. He was portrayed by action star Rudy Fernandez.