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Bayan likens Anti-Terror Bill’s passage to gifting Thanos with Infinity Stones

/ 05:35 PM February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – If you ask militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the Senate’s passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill is as absurd as gifting Marvel movie supervillain Thanos with the Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet.

“It’s like giving Thanos the Infinity Gauntlet on a silver platter,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes claimed on Thursday, in reference to the character which used the gauntlet to wipe out half of the life in the entire universe through a snap of the finger.

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“The amendments to the Human Security Act broadens the already vague definition of terrorism, gives law enforcers greater powers, and removes safeguards against abuses,” he added.

According to Reyes, whose group has been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the said measure if enacted into law would open a fascist, de facto military rule.

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“In the hands of a fascist ruler like Duterte, this draconian law will surely be used to intimidate, silence and jail critics, political dissenters, members of the opposition, critical media, and anyone that gets the ire of the President,” he explained.  “Nobody is safe.”

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 19-2 to pass Senate Bill No. 1083, seen to amend the Human Security Act of 2007.  Under the new measure, individuals and groups with links to terrorist activities may face electronic surveillance and warrantless arrests.

READ: Anti-terror bill gets final Senate nod; 2 senators vote against measure

Other critics of the government expressed dismay at the Senate’s move, as they believe it would be used to silence legitimate dissent and to probe personalities who oppose the administration’s policies.

However, Senator Panfilo Lacson who sponsored the bill, assured people that the proposed measure’s provisions would only be used against legitimate terrorist organizations and not those voicing their views.

Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are not included there.  It is so clear in the law that activities in the exercise of legitimate dissent are not included,” he said.

“Every now and then we’ll be hearing about suicide bombers.   We recently had the first case of suicide bombing, and ISIS is now here in the Philippines.  So it’s about time we strengthen our laws against terrorism,” he added.

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READ: Lacson assures critics of Anti-Terror Bill: Safeguards set vs abuse

But even with Lacson’s assurance, Reyes noted that currently — even without the amended Human Security Act — several cases of abuse against groups red-tagged as communist rebels have already occurred, while other personalities targeted are made to appear like drug suspects, under the war against illegal drugs.

“As it is, even the constitutionally-guaranteed safeguards enshrined in the bill of rights are being trampled with impunity by the police and military in their Tokhang-style operations against activists and suspected rebels,” Reyes said.

“What more when this bill becomes a law?” he asked.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf Group, anti-terror bill, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of expression, Human Security Act, Infinity Gauntlet, ISIS, Martial law, Philippine news updates, Renato Reyes, Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Terrorism, Thanos
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