'Critics resist anti-terror law because some of them are terrorists' | Inquirer News
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‘Critics resist anti-terror law because some of them are terrorists’

/ 08:56 PM February 02, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Supporters of the Duterte administration have claimed that critics of the government oppose the Republic Act No. 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 because some of them are terrorists.

During oral arguments in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, groups avidly supporting the administration held a demonstration near Padre Faura Street to cheer on government lawyers defending the anti-terrorism law a counteraction to a nearby rally of those condemning the measure.

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Duterte Youth leader and former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema said terrorism remains a pressing concern and should be addressed by the government because some radical individuals end up joining the armed struggle.

“Bilang mga responsableng Pilipino, dapat tayo ay sumusuporta sa ating gobyerno at sa ating mga tropa ng gobyerno, at dito sa laban, laban sa mga terorista. Sa tingin natin, napaka-ayos ng implementasyon ng Anti-Terrorism Act, sa tingin natin kailangan ito,” he said.

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(As responsible Filipinos, we should support our government, our state forces, and the fight against terrorists. We think that the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act is efficient, and we really need this law.)

“So, ayaw talaga nila ng batas na lumalaban sa terorista dahil minsan merong miyembro nila ang nagiging radikal at nagiging miyembro ng teroristang grupo,” he added.

(They just do not want this law against terrorists because sometimes, some of their members are radicalized and eventually become members of terrorist groups.)

As for Pep Goitia, secretary general of Liga Independencia Pilipinas which fights alleged communist recruitment in schools and student organizations, activists are wary of the Anti-Terrorism Act because they themselves are terrorists.

“Kahit na anong paikot-ikot ang gawin nila, kaya sila anti doon sa ATL (anti-terrorism law) natin kasi mga terorista sila.  May mga provisions naman doon sa batas na hindi naman por que’t naging activist ka […] meron pa ring freedom ang mga tao na magsalita,” Goitia claimed.

(Whatever spin you do on the issue, they are just against the Anti-Terrorism Law because they are terrorists. There are provisions in the law which does not discriminate against activists […] people can still enjoy their freedom to speak.)

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After some delays, oral arguments between the Office of the Solicitor General and various human rights lawyers on the legality of the anti-terrorism law kicked off Tuesday in the Supreme Court.

Those against the law argued that measures to fight terrorism in the country can already be found in existing legislation, specifically, the Human Security Act of 2007.

They also noted that several provisions in the law, like the authorization of warrantless arrests and extended detention, go against the 1987 Constitution.

READ: Anti-terror law challengers to SC: Laws to fight ‘real terrorism’ already in place

Debates on the necessity of the Anti-Terrorism Act stemmed from concerns of human rights advocates and opposition groups about supposedly vague provisions that may result in silencing legitimate dissent.

But supporters and proponents of the law, including government security officials, maintained that the Anti-Terrorism Act only targets terrorists and that there are safeguards against abuse.

READ: Lorenzana: Fear of new anti-terror law baseless

KGA

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TAGS: administration supporters, anti-terror law, Anti-terrorism Act, Duterte Youth, oral arguments, Padre Faura Street, Philippine news updates, Republic Act No. 11479, Ronald Cardema, SC, Supreme Court
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