PNP sees airtight case vs. Indonesian ‘suicide bomber’ with approval of anti-terrorism law’s IRR

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Suspected Indonesian suicide bomber Resky Fantasya Rullie, also known as Cici

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — The Philippine National Police looks forward to using the Anti-Terrorism Act in its case against the alleged Indonesian suicide bomber arrested by authorities.

PNP Chief General Camilo Cascolan made this statement on Wednesday as he welcomed the approval of the implementing rules and regulations of the highly contested law. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the Anti-Terrorism Council, an executive body tasked to promulgate the IRR, agreed to the draft crafted by a technical group led by his department.

Copies of the IRR will be given to Congress and law enforcement agencies as required under the law. It is expected to be published online and in a national broadsheet within the week.

Law enforcement officials earlier said they will wait for the IRR before fully implementing the law, admitting that any move may be “open to question” without this document.

Cascolan said the police force now plans to file terrorism charges against Indonesian militant Resky Fantasya Rullie, also known as Cici, so she can face tougher penalties.

“Baka mamaya kasi, babanatan pa natin ng Revised Penal Code, criminal acts lahat ‘yan,” Cascolan said. “Ang mga iniiwasan natin ‘yung maka-bail siya, ‘yung makalusot siya, malusutan ang ating criminal law.”

[Translation: If we use the Revised Penal Code, that will fall under criminal acts. What we want to avoid is for her to be allowed to post bail and circumvent our criminal law.]

Authorities on Saturday announced the arrest of Rullie, from whom they said they recovered a suicide vest rigged with pipe bombs and other improvised explosive devices. Rullie is said to be a daughter of the Indonesian couple who allegedly carried out the suicide bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in 2019.

Sulu military commander William Gonzales said they have been in pursuit of Cici, following reports she would conduct suicide attacks to avenge the death of her husband, Andi Baso, also an Indonesian militant, who was reportedly killed in an encounter with government forces in Patikul, Sulu in August.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, principal sponsor and one of the authors of the Anti-Terrorism Act, said Rullie’s arrest looms as a potential test case of the new law particularly on its provision penalizing "inchoate offenses."

These refer to preparatory acts that are deemed criminal even without the actual harm being done, provided that the harm that would have occurred is one the anti-terrorism law tries to prevent.

Lacson believes the bombs and other items seized from the Indonesian indicated she was indeed preparing to take part in a terrorist attack.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.