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.