Speaking up vs gov’t may be considered ‘inciting to terrorism,’ De Lima warns
MANILA, Philippines— Will simply speaking up against the government be soon considered “inciting to terrorism?”
Jailed Senator Leila de Lima thinks so, citing law enforcers’ “exemplary record” when it comes to human rights violations.
“It’s obvious that the bill is not after real terrorists. May bagong imbentong krimen pa na ‘inciting to terrorism’,” De Lima said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the anti-terror bill that is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
(It’s obvious that the bill is not after real terrorists. And there’s a newly invented crime called “inciting to terrorism.”)
“Magsalita ka lang siguro na wala ka pang natatanggap na ayuda, at mag-alburuto tungkol dito, puwede nang ‘inciting’ ‘yun sa kanila. Given our law enforcement’s exemplary record in human rights violations, hindi imposible.”
(Maybe if you complain about not getting subsidy and rant about it, then they would already consider it “inciting.” Given our law enforcement’s exemplary record in human rights violations, that is not impossible.)
“No safeguards for the protection of human rights. No redress of legitimate grievances,” she further lamented.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, believes the measure has a “profoundly chilling effect on our own fundamental freedoms of thought, of expression, of an independent press, and of maintaining association and peaceful assembly.”
“While it has been general knowledge that this government has been using the law blatantly to trample upon fundamental freedoms, itong Anti-Terrorism Bill na yata ang rurok ng kalupitan,” the senator went on.
“This is lawfare at its subtlest yet vile form! Weaponizing the law against critics and truth seekers.”
Also, De Lima said the fight against terrorism should not result in the granting of additional powers to the government, which can be used to abuse human rights and civil liberties.
“Enough safeguards are in place. The critics – some of whom had been extended the opportunity to help craft the bill – should read first the bill itself to see for themselves what I am saying,” Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense, earlier said.
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