Thursday, February 8, 2007

Philippine Congress Passes Anti-Terrorism Law

BSCBN TV reports that a Bicameral Conference Committee of the Philippine Congress has just passed an anti-terrorism bill--the Human Security Act of 2007. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is expected to sign the measure into law shortly, almost certainly with brickbats and ongoing criticism from the usual sources, especially the armed Left and its supporters. Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales was on television already allowing a clueless ANC anchor Chiqui Roa to sow the misconception that somehow the law could allow the government to designate anybody a terrorist and detain or arrest him as such. I haven't looked at the final version of the law, but from everything I've seen thus far, the various amendments by the likes of Sen. Jamby Madrigal and Nene Pimentel, it is a weak law. As an example, terrorist suspects may be held for interrogation and investigation for only three days instead of the original fifteen days in an earlier version. When asked by Roa in a somewhat sarcastic manner whether the ordinary Juan de la Cruz should now feel safer because of the bill's passage, even sponsor Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile had to answer with irony that there are so many safeguards of civil liberties in it that the citizenry should certainly feel safer from the police and other law enforcement agencies charged with implementing the law.

The CPP-NPA is surely going to go ballistic over the bill's passage since they have landed in US and EU terrorist lists five or six times in a row in annual updates of those lists, costing them millions of dollars annually in donations from international left sources, mainly in Europe. The domestic anti-terrorism law will further criminalize their fund-raising activities in the archipelago, such as their extortion and protection rackets, collection of "revolutionary tactics" and permission to campaign "fees" during elections periods.

In a curious report, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales claims that the CPP-NPA is planning to assassinate former President Joseph Estrada to destabilize the nation ahead of the May 14 midterm elections. Erap lawyer Rufus Rodriguez opines that the claim is being done in order to heighten security around Erap so as to isolate him from political supporters who are organizing a Senate slate that looks set for a landslide victory at the May polls.

Speaking of which, a major development just this afternoon is that both Erap's wife, Senator Loi Ejercito and their son, San Juan Mayor J.V. Ejercito -- both of whom are polling within the Magic 12 of likely winners -- will NOT be running on the United Opposition slate. Speculation on Ellen Tordesillas' blog is that Sonia Roco, widow of former Sen. Raul Roco, one of Erap's Edsa Dos nemeses, could possibly take one of the four remaining slots on the UNO slate. Lito Anzures, spokesman for UNO head Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, said the move shows how deep the Opposition bench is, that they do not have to rely just on winnability in their choices, and that the Opposition intends to appeal to a broad political spectrum. It is the first sign I have seen that the Opposition is getting smart about the coming midterm elections.


manuelbuencamino said...

“If we cannot learn, if the only effect upon us of the presence of the dynamiter in our midst is to make us multiply punishments, invent restrictions, increase the number of our official spies, forbid public meetings, interfere with the press, put up gratings — as in one country they propose to do — in our House of Commons, scrutinize visitors under official microscopes, request them, as in Vienna, and I think now at Paris also, to be good enough to leave their greatcoats in the vestibules — if we are in a word to trust to machinery, to harden our hearts, and simply to meet force with force, always irritating, always clumsy, and in the end fruitless, then I venture to prophesy that there lies before us a bitter and an evil time.”
- Auberon Herbert “The Ethics of Dynamite written a hundred years ago.

Karl M. Garcia said...

Although I would like us to have an anti terrror law..

But looking at the big picture..

But I think masyado na tayong batas..dapat nga bawasan at streamline at iconsolidate ang laws...

ang dami ng krimen ngayon making our jails clogged up and many more backlogs in the many cases in our courts...

yun nga lang mawawalan ng trabaho ang law makers pag nagyari ito.

now on the international scene..
when will the Iraqi bombings the worst yet to come?Can an anti terror law solve that?

floyd said...

The anti-terrorism bill is worth the wait.
Perhaps this time the people will wake up from its stupor and eventually kick out this illegitimate government.

This bill is being passed surreptitiously under the nose of the upcoming elections where the media might focus its eyes on Manny Pacquiao, Richard Gomez and Cesar Montano doing the rounds.

This bill if passed into law would literally step on our civil liberties but we don’t know it.

The left being proliferated and divided could never have a single voice.
Being killed indiscriminately left and right they have no other choice but to go up the mountains and rage their wars over there…
While the others who are not armed and working on the legal struggle will themselves be subject to the states’ harassments.

So what could one expect over this Anti-Terrorism Bill?

1. Military Adventurism
2. People Power
3. Rise of the Armed Left
4. Rise of the Legitimate Left
5. Real and Authentic Terrorism
6. Innocent Deaths

By the action of the government in espousing this bill it invites dissenters to take more pro-active actions not far from the experience the Philippines had at the time of Marcos.

And it is wrong to compare this to martial law because in this scenario we are using the rule of law to be used against us.

We have failed to work against those congressmen who perpetrated charter-change in congress and now we have no reason to not oppose them again with this bill.

The situation is tricky.

Who’s to determine who’s a terrorist and who isn’t? And what if the filipino is not a terrorist? could he get over the “identity rape” he just suffered? And if indeed the filipino is a terrorist, how could such bill stop it when it already admitted incompetence by forcing such bill because it cannot do its job properly with regards to intelligence reports and the upholding of the law.

It is in the filipino experience that most human rights violation came from the police and the military and yet by the passing of this bill we will give them more opportunity and power to legitimize their claim over our freedom and rights?

If this bill will be passed it would be worse than Mc-Carthyism It would be worse than martial law. In fact it would be worse than the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus indeed this bill is inviting civil war.

And if civil war it will be then civil war it is, besides aren’t great nations created from its own ashes?