Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Clarity: Why We Need The Anti-Terror Law

The NEWS is really a swinging door of observation. Even though we are in the era of 24/7 television and web coverage of everything that is going on, nevertheless, all we are truly afforded, most of the time, are increasingly many and multitudinous glimpses into the complex situations of humanity. But the ongoing episode of an alleged "Mrs. Dulmatin" brings clarity to long-standing questions that have been raised by some regarding WHY we really need an Anti-terrorism Law.

On one level it is simply this, a person like this "Mrs. Dulmatin" who may be a very valuable intelligence asset, will eventually be deported to Indonesia unless probable cause can be found that she has committed crimes while illegally staying in the Philippines. Yesterday, I speculated that her "arrest" only means that Dulmatin and his Bali Bombing Gang have already escaped and they just want the Philippine Govt to pay for her plane fare back to the arms of the Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia!

On a deeper level, the Anti-terrorism Law truly IS a reduction in the "democratic space" of all citizens that is ALSO a necessary response to the condition of WAR that currently obtains between a radical jihadist movement and the rest of the civilized world, (including almost all Muslims).

But this "reduction" in the democratic space is a lot like the reduction that occurred when murder or robbery were outlawed. At that point in history, there was also the potential for people to be FALSELY accused or punished for murders or robberies that they did not commit. But no one would dispute the necessity of such laws, even if that potential exists.

But it will certainly impact on the "civil rights" of people like "Mrs. Dulmatin" and "Professor Jose Maria Sison" and perhaps even of Philippine Commentary and its readers. But I believe the true reason we NEED an anti-terrorism law is that the State abhors illegal acts done by itself. This law seeks to make certain policies and actions that are deemed "necessary" by lawful authorities to defend against terrorist attacks LAWFUL in the present context.

It is realized by all responsible observers that all anti-terrorism laws have the potential for falsely accusing and even acting against innocent persons. But that is precisely why the laws are needed, because the State still has the perpetual duty to defend itself and the people. Before the condition of war was effectively imposed on the world, such defensive actions and policies were not necessary. Now they are.

If the Law is to maintain its self-respect, this new legislation must be passed so it's hands are not tied in dealing lawfully with people like this "Mrs. Dulmatin." I think it is a recognition that because anti-terrorism activities must continue yet have the potential to harm the civil rights of innocents that that law is needed to begin with. We cannot also lose sight of the fact, that there are certain things even more primal to defend and uphold than the civil rights of people. There is also their life and limb.

10 comments:

john marzan said...

Ito ang sinulat ko dati:

I am not against the Anti-Terrorism Bill per se. I just dont trust the administration that will implement it. And the bill in it's current form is unacceptable and needs to be rewritten.

DJB:

On a deeper level, the Anti-terrorism Law truly IS a reduction in the "democratic space" of all citizens that is ALSO a necessary response to the condition of WAR that currently obtains between a radical jihadist movement and the rest of the civilized world, (including almost all Muslims).

The funny thing about all this is that Arroyo only found out about the urgent need of the Anti-terror bill after lumabas ang gloriagate legitimacy problem niya.

And her anti-Terror bill proposal in 2005 seems like it was written more with the anti-Arroyo opposition in mind back then as much as the real terrorists.

I believe the anti-terror legislation should be rewritten before they even think of passing it.

From Dean Agabin:

Dean Pacifico Agabin of the Lyceum of the Philippines College of Law called the bill “constitutionally suspect” because it is “couched in vague and over broad terms, in violation of the substantive due process and the right to fair notice clause of the Constitution.”

Agabin said the bill was worse than the United States Patriot Act — enacted following the 9/11 attacks — because all criminal acts in the Revised Penal Code would fall under it, thus altering the Philippine criminal justice system.

“The proposed bill tries to cast as wide a net as possible and so it suffers not only from ambiguity but also from overbreadth,” he said, stressing that it would give way to a “fishing expedition” of the police.”


And I have no problems with the U.S. Patriot Act.

But if the contents of the Patriot Act were as bad as Arroyo's anti-terror bill, hindi ko susuportahan yan. And if Bush acted like Arroyo and used the Patriot Act powers on his political enemies, definitely dapat makulong si bush diyan.

buti na lang the much maligned bush is not arroyo.

Rizalist said...

I would prefer a number of improvements too John. For example, perhaps the implementation and supervision of the entire Anti Terror Law needs to be under a special Court, like FISA in the US, which does not crimp timely action, but provides a lot of oversight.

But it's getting late...I think we are about to be hit HARD!

john marzan said...

But it's getting late...I think we are about to be hit HARD!

we were already hit hard by an al queda style attack back in dec. 30, 2000.

john marzan said...

maybe arroyo did not remember that attack, but i do.

that arroyo never passed an anti-terror bill into law during 2001-mid 2005 (when she has both the senate and house on her side) is a head scratcher.

Rizalist said...

John--Three Bomb blasts in 24 hours today in Central Mindanao!

Amadeo said...

Is one to suppose then that the delay in this passage is one or both of two things?

Because the country does not really believe the urgency and/or relevance of the proposed law to local conditions.

Or the more politically expedient one, because this proposal reminds the local population, especially the vocal and US-averse critics, too much of the US and what it does; and thus even the administration would like very much to distance itself from anything US-sourced or –related.

Rizalist said...

Neither or both amadeo. I think we're gonna get hit HARD, then the debates will go away or settle down to the grim reality.

john marzan said...

I would prefer a number of improvements too John. For example, perhaps the implementation and supervision of the entire Anti Terror Law needs to be under a special Court, like FISA in the US, which does not crimp timely action, but provides a lot of oversight.

But it's getting late...I think we are about to be hit HARD!


if you're talking about the re-writing of the anti-terror bill, i don't think it's going to take that long.

hindi ba may anti-terror bill sila lacson, jinggoy, at magsaysay? I think most filipinos will find their terror bill more acceptable than arroyo's version. Because they've crafted this bill with the intention of only going after the real terrorists.

Yung anti-terror bill naman ni Arroyo lumps the political opposition and the anti-GMA groups/"destabilizers" along with the JI, Abu Sayyaf and NPA as one and the same.

Arroyo's terror bill in it's current form should be rejected.

pati sa US, even the senate rejected the renewal of the patriot act the first time it came up because of many senators (including some republicans) expressed concerns re the need to amend some of the provisions in the Patriot Act.

so i don't think we should be stampeded into passing arroyo's version.

So we don't have an anti-terror bill even after 12/30 and 9/11. Who's fault is that really?

at sa nakikita ko, this arroyo admin is not hampered by a lack of anti-terror bill anyway.

If arroyo is sincere and REALLY serious about this anti-terror bill, then she'd have no problems accepting the opposition's anti-terror bill, with enough built-in safeguards for everybody's peace of mind.

tama rin si MLQ3, dapat may "sunset clause" sa terror bill, to be renewed and re-authorized every 3 years.

pero kung ako ang tatanungin mo, i don't trust arroyo and I am reluctant to give arroyo tremendous powers knowing her admin's record of abusing it. she doesn't deserve these powers.

kung sa US ito, malamang hindi na na-renew ang patriot act, if democrats found out that bush was behaving like arroyo using the Patriot act against his political foes instead of the real terrorists. hindi lang yan, bush would have been impeached and removed from office by his own party by now if bush did an arroyo.

john marzan said...

Is one to suppose then that the delay in this passage is one or both of two things?


the delay for the bill is that arroyo never really took the WOT seriously, and saw it only as an opportunity to get the US support for her 2004 elections.

And news like these doesn't help.

Or the more politically expedient one, because this proposal reminds the local population, especially the vocal and US-averse critics, too much of the US and what it does; and thus even the administration would like very much to distance itself from anything US-sourced or –related.

i don't think so. hindi ba arroyo was gung ho about being seen as bush's ally back in 2003?

john marzan said...

Neither or both amadeo. I think we're gonna get hit HARD, then the debates will go away or settle down to the grim reality.

Hit hard by WHOM?

nung 12/30, everybody accused erap of masterminding it. mali pala. si al ghozi at yung JI ang culprit.

so kung may bombang sumabog ulit, most people will understandably assume it's JI or Abu sayyaf.