2 solons reject proposal to revive Anti-Subversion Act
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat on Tuesday rejected the proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Act, saying it would give rise to more human rights violations in the country.
The two progressive lawmakers also slammed the proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año as “anti-democratic” and a “throwback to Marcosian dictatorship.”
“This militarist proposal to resurrect from its burial ground this dreaded law will only mean more violations of human rights as this will definitely curtail our freedom of association, our freedom of expression and our freedom of assembly,” Zarate said in a statement.
“Magkakaroon na naman ng maramihang hulihan, pagsasampa ng gawa-gawang kaso at mapupuno a naman ang mga kulungan ng mga inosenteng mga mamamayan, lalu na ngayon na nalalantad na ang kabulukan at kapalpakan ng administrasyong Duterte,” added the deputy minority leader.
[There will again be many arrests, filing of trumped-up charges, and jails will be filled again with innocent citizens, especially now that the rottenness and incompetence of the Duterte administration have been exposed.]
Cullamat, meanwhile, warned that the revival of the law could be a stepping stone to the expansion of martial law from Mindanao to the entire country.
“Dapat ay kagyat at mariing tutulan ito ng mamamayan kundi ay mahihirapan na tayong maibalik muli ang mga naipanalo nating mga demokratikong karapatan,” she added.
[Citizens should oppose this immediately and forcefully. Otherwise, we will find it hard to restore the democratic rights that we have gained.]
Año recently made the proposal to counter the alleged recruitment of university students to the underground movement by leftist groups.
The Anti-Subversion Act of 1957 made membership to the Communist Party of the Philippines and “any other organization having the same purpose” punishable by up to 12 years in prison. It was repealed in 1992 as part of the peace negotiations between the communist rebels and then President Fidel V. Ramos.
While the Philippine National Police supports the restoration of the law, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the proposal would still have to be reviewed.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra reminded Año that “being leftist is far from being terrorist.”
“As long as activism remains in the realm of ideology, there is nothing to be alarmed about,” Guevarra said. “But once it flows into overt acts that threaten the national security or at least cause widespread fear among the people, the government has to step in, and step in really hard.”
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