Etta Rosales: Anti-Terror Bill ‘brings back’ Anti-Subversion Law of Marcos
MANILA, Philippines — Former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chief and martial law survivor Etta Rosales believes that the proposed Anti-Terror Bill is reminiscent of the Anti-Subversion Law during the administration of late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.
According to Rosales, who was imprisoned during martial law, the anti-terror measure would pave the way for abuses similarly experienced during the so-called darkest days of the Marcos regime.
For this, Rosales and Akbayan Party, where she now serves as chairman emeritus, vowed to stop the implementation of the anti-terror bill once it becomes law by seeking a temporary restraining order in the Supreme Court.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, which seeks to strengthen the Human Security Act of 2007, is up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature after the House of Representatives approved – rejecting all suggested amendments – and adopted the Senate version on Wednesday night. This means that no bicameral conference will be held because the two versions are already consolidated.
“Duterte’s terror bill is grossly unconstitutional,” she said in a statement Thursday. “The bill regresses us to the days of Marcos. It brings back the Anti-Subversion Law that Marcos used to justify mass arrests, detention, torture, and killings in his dictatorship.”
“Passing this bill into law means allowing the same abuses of martial law to be enacted now. Everything we had won after Marcos is swept under the rug. It makes a mockery of the people’s uprising for freedom, justice, and democracy 34 years ago,” she added.
Presidential Decree No. 1835 (PD 1835) or the Anti-Subversion Law of 1981, declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) “to be an organized conspiracy for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines or for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said government or its laws, the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof, with the open or covert assistance or support of a foreign power or the open or covert support from a foreign source of any association, group of persons, whether public or private, by force, violence, terrorism, arson, assassination, deceit or other illegal means.”
Similar to President Carlos Garcia-era’s Anti-Subversion Act (Republic Act No. 1700), which prohibited affiliation to the Hukbalahap, PD 1835 outlawed membership and participation to CPP and other organizations associated with it.
But many believed the Marcos decree was used to target and repress administration critics during the martial law period even if they were not really part of the communist movement.
Decades later, the anti-subversion laws were repealed, as the measures were deemed to have infringed people’s rights.
Rosales agreed with observations that the Anti-Terror Bill has widened the definition of terrorism, which, she claimed, can be twisted by authorities against people simply criticizing the government.
“To those who lived through martial law, why do you forget so quickly the struggle 34 years ago that ousted a tyrant who killed our people for self-rule?” Rosales asked.“They arrested Sen. de Lima, filed a quo warranto on CJ Sereno, tagged hundreds of individuals in his ‘terror matrix.’ How much more now with this law?”
“We call on all Filipinos who love their country and the democracy fought for by our heroes and martyrs to junk Duterte’s terror bill!” she added.
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