Group: Anti-Subversion Act revival will revive its ‘horrors’
MANILA, Philippines — Reviving the “dead” Anti-Subversion Act would only revive the “horrors” it had when it was first promulgated, a group composed of lawyers and law students said Saturday.
The Manananggol Laban sa EJK (Manlaban sa EJK) added that such revival is also “unconstitutional, discriminatory, and contradictory to the democratic process.”
“Laws are repealed for good reason, and to revive such ‘dead’ law will simply revive the horrors that came with it when it was first promulgated,” the group said in a statement.
Citing the Bill of Rights, the group said Filipinos clearly have the freedom “to associate with groups they feel are aligned with their beliefs, and mere membership is not, and should not be, sufficient basis to have them charged in the court of law.”
On Wednesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said reviving Anti-Subversion Act (Republic Act No. 1700) would make the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) accountable for their actions.
The act, which aims to criminalize affiliation to leftist groups, has drawn mixed reactions from government officials.
He added that the CPP, the New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF) could not be treated “differently” and “separately” from one another.
The Gen. Oscar Albayalde, PNP chief, also expressed support for the revival of the act.
However, the Manlaban sa EJKs said: “A proposed anti-subversion law becomes a repressive weapon at a time when people’s organizations, members of the Liberal Party, lawyers, and dissenters are lumped as NPA supporters or as ouster plotters.”
“This law could be used to criminally charge all critics and dissenters on allegations they are involved in subverting government authority and arrested for imagined crimes,” the group added.
Among the convenors of Manlaban sa EJK include former Sen. Rene Saguisag, Pacifico Agabin, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law; Neri Colmenares and Edre Olalia, chairman and president, respectively, of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, Jose Manuel Dioko, dean of the De La Salle University and chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group; Antonio La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government Dean; Ernesto Maceda Jr. dean of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law; June Ambrosio, head of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National Center for Legal Aid; former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada; Roberto Cadiz of the Commission on Human Rights; professors Victoria Avena and Roel Pulido, Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center; Evalyn Ursua; and Cleto Villacorta III.