The world of social media is once again abuzz with the collective whinging of the “wokes” in unison with the caterwauling of the usual faces of NPA “legal” front representatives and their sympathizers as the looming “threat” of the Anti-Terrorism Bill passing into law approaches.
As an observant citizen I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend what’s more laughable. Is it the fact that (a) the college youth, the so-called “wokes,” are quick to sympathize with terrorist elements and react vehemently to a proposed bill without even reading it; OR (b) that air-headed celebrities left and right are commenting on a matter that is clearly out of their ken, while again, having not read the bill?
Before we lose ourselves in pointless bickering and countless appeals to emotion to junk the Anti-Terrorism Bill, let’s make it clear what the Bill IS and ISN’T.
For reference, the 3rd Reading copy of the Bill can be found here.
For those lazy to read or simply do not have time, here’s the Anti-Terrorism Bill in a nutshell:
1. First and foremost, it establishes the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), which shall work in coordination with related government agencies to carry out its mandate of combating and preventing violent extremism and terrorism. The ATC shall implement that Anti-Terrorism Bill in its full force.
2. The Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB) did not point out any specific group or individual as terrorists, but merely defined what constitutes as acts of terrorism.
The Sec. 4 of ATB concisely defined acts of terrorism as engaging in either one or all of the following acts committed (regardless of stage of execution) by any person within or outside of the Philippines:
a. Those intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or that which endangers a person’s life;
b. Those intended to cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place or private property;
c. Those intended to cause interference, damage, or destruction to critical infrastructure;
d. Development, manufacturing, possession, acquisition, transportation, supplying or using of weapons, explosives or of biological, nuclear, radiological, or chemical weapons; and
e. Releasing of dangerous substances or causing fires with the intent of intimidating the public, creating an atmosphere of fear, provoking or influencing the government by intimidation, or to seriously destabilize political, economic, or social structures of the nation to create a public emergency or to seriously undermine public safety.
3. Section 4(e) emphasizes, however, that terrorism does NOT include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights not intended to cause serious physical harm, endangerment of life, serious risk to public safety, or death.
4. For sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, The ATB shall punish people who:
a. Threaten to commit terrorism
b. Plan, train, prepare, and facilitate the commission of terrorism
c. Conspire, propose, and incite to commit terrorism.
5. Section 10 is particularly juicy as it provides for the recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization. This provision bunched a lot of panties especially those of the NPA cadres and their sympathizers.
Under this section, individuals who recruit persons into what are considered as terrorist groups by the UN National Security Council or groups who perform the aforementioned acts of terrorism shall be dealt with accordingly.
The ATB shall also penalize persons who recruit another person to serve in the armed force of a foreign state; those who publish advertisements or propaganda for said armed force or ads and propaganda that lay out ways for application; and those who perform any other act with the intent of recruiting persons to the same.
6. Under Section 16, it allows surveillance of suspects provided that there is probable cause and there is a written request which is subsequently granted by the Court of Appeals.
The “suspects” pertained to by Section 16 are:
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a. Members of judicially declared and outlawed terrorists;
b. Those who finance terrorist individuals or groups as defined in Section 3 (e) of RA 10168;
c. Any person charged with or suspected of committing any crimes defined and penalized in ATB.
7. The ATB “allowing and/or condoning warrantless arrest” is a myth. In the first place, law enforcing bodies are allowed to conduct warrantless arrest if the perpetrator is caught red-handed. This is called the “In flagrante delicto” rule.
8. Section 30 provides that apprehended individuals shall be granted the usual rights of person under custodial detention, and violation of these rights shall be dealt with accordingly.
9. Lastly, Section 33 provides explicitly that NO TORTURE OR COERCION will be allowed nor conducted during investigation and interrogation.
Now, this might seem a lot to swallow, but this is the shortest I can discuss the matter without getting too technical or legalese. I hope this at least sheds a light on this topic. But before I end this piece, I would like to address the “wokes.”
Given that reading comprehension among Pinoys is low, it will do you good to actually try to read and exercise critical thinking once in a while. “Critical thinking” does not mean criticizing something without thought or vestiges of objectivity and rationality because then, you’re just being “critical” without the “thinking” part.
Until you realize what it means to actually employ critical thinking in your lives, you remain, as always, a gullible and laughable crowd of entitled snowflakes who are far from ready to take charge of anything, let alone comment in anything political.
Who am I? None of your business.