‘Fight not over yet:’ Pangilinan denounces passage of Anti-Terror Act
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Friday denounced the signing into law of the controversial anti-terrorism bill but said he was “not surprised” given what he called was the administration’s “draconian” brand of leadership.
“I am not surprised. From Day 1 this Administration unleashed draconian and authoritarian measures as a showcase of its brand of leadership. These draconian measures however have been exposed as nothing more than a show of senseless, mindless violence as means to sow fear amongst the people,” Pangilinan said in a statement shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure despite widespread opposition.
The said law amends and repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) and punish those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; including those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
Various human rights groups and several lawmakers have raised fears that the measure could spur human rights violations and suppress dissent.
“From the murderous drug war to the longest martial law in Mindanao to the longest lockdown in the world, and now to the anti-terror law. The drug war has not nailed big-time drug lords and illegal drugs still flow after 4 years. Martial law in Mindanao has miserably failed to address the reconstruction of Marawi,” Pangilinan said.
“The longest lockdown has not addressed the continuing spread of COVID. Patunay lahat ito na hindi kamay na bakal ang solusyon sa ating mga problema sa bansa,” he added.
(All these prove that an iron first would not solve the problems of the country).
The senator further stressed that the anti-terror law would not serve as a solution to the prevailing health crisis.
“Basura ang pilit na isinusubo sa taumbayan. Dapat ibasura ang walang kwentang batas na ito at handa tayong kwestyunin ang constitutionality ng batas na ito sa Korte Suprema,” he said.
(What’s being fed to the public is trash. This worthless law should be junked and we are ready to question its constitutionality before the Supreme Court).
“Hindi pa tapos ang boksing. Hindi pa tapos ang laban,” he added.
(The boxing’s not over yet. The fight has not yet ended).
‘They will hear the people sing’
For Senator Risa Hontiveros, the passage of the controversial measure shows that the priority of the administration is not the health of the Filipino public but to “kill the people’s freedom.”
“While the country’s COVID-19 cases have gone past 40,000 and while 7.3 million Filipinos have lost their jobs and livelihood, Malacañang has instead signed the Anti-Terrorism Law that it will use to trample on Filipinos’ basic rights and freedoms,” she said in a statement.
The lawmaker surmised that the only reason why the administration is insisting on passing the said law in the middle of a crisis is because “[t]hey are afraid of the growing discontent of the people with the government’s incompetence and abuses during the global pandemic.”
“This law, with its vague and unconstitutional provisions, will provide the government with fearsome legal tools to oppress and silence those who speak out and resist the injustices, the violence, and the corruption of those in power,” she said.
“Pero hindi tayo papatinag. Mas lalo nating palalakasin ang ating boses laban sa paniniil ng ating kalayaan. They will hear the people sing,” she added.
(But we will not be silenced. Our voices will be much louder to protest this oppression on our freedom. They will hear the people sing).
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