Human Security Act amendments may be used to harass gov’t critics, says solon
MANILA, Philippines – The proposed amendments to R.A. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007 might be used to silence critics of the government, a lawmaker from the Makabayan bloc warned on Monday.
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, House Bills 7141 and 5507 — if enacted — can be used to target legal organizations and personalities who disagree with government policies.
“Pag naging batas ito, tingin natin kabahagi ito ng pag-supil doon sa mga lumalaban sa gobyerno maging sa mga legal na organizations, mga kritiko ng gobyerno sa kaliwa man ‘yan, o sa ibang mga sektor. Talagang gagamitin ‘yan,” Zarate explained during a demonstration outside House gates.
(If this becomes law, we think it will be used to go after those who oppose the government, be it legal organizations, critics, leftists or those from other sectors. This will be used).
He also said that the proposed measures have a lot of vague parts.
Inside HB 7141’s Section 5(f), people who ‘glorify’ or promote and advertise terrorism using any medium may be sentenced to ten years in prison
“May mga vague na provisions doon, meron pa ngang glorification of terrorism. What is that?” Zarate asked.
“Kapag ba ikaw, media, na-feature mo si Isnilon Hapilon, ang buhay niya, bakit siya naging terorista, is that glorification of terrorism? Pwedeng gamitin ‘yan, kahit na sino, kahit sa media, pwedeng gamitin ‘yan,” he added, referring to the terrorist who led radical militants in the siege of Marawi.
(If media reports on the life and activities of Isnilon Hapilon, why he became a terrorist, is that glorification of terrorism? This law can be used against anyone, even members of the media).
Earlier, the House committee on public order and safety discussed amendments on the Human Security Act — a day after at least 20 individuals were killed and over 80 others wounded in the bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu.
Despite the incident, the proposed amendments received strong opposition from lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc and organizations who fear that the measures may be used against ordinary citizens.
Zarate said that the legal bases to fight terrorism are already installed — and placing additional laws only endangers the rights of people.
Instead, he believes the government should implement these laws to prevent similar attacks in the future. /gsg
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