Senate Bill 1083, An Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Penalize Terrorism a.k.a. “The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” is causing alarm amongst the Philippines’ “woke” community of self-described “activists”. If enacted, they claim it will give power to any Chief Executive to “weaponize the law”. In his opinion on the matter, a certain Attorney Mel Sta. Maria suggests in a tweet used as a go-to reference by many Opposition “thought leaders”…
Any president, as the Chief Executive, will be given by the proposed law such enormous executive power, which, if abuse, can lead to the weaponizing of the law to create fear even among legitimate critics. Indeed, the availability of such executive power provides a tempting invitation for its misuse and abuse, a lure for which manipulative government officials may not be able to resist. IF ONLY for this reason, the Anti-Terror Bill should never be passed. The bill, if passed into law, will be any despot’s deadly sword.
For its part, the chi chi Ateneo Human Rights Center denounces ongoing efforts to pass the bill as “a glaring attempt to weaponize the law to silence critics and further suppress lawful dissent.” But of course, right? What else would a self-described “human rights center” say on any sort of legislation that aims to strengthen state security forces?
So we should ask these people: Are these claims true? And of course they will claim not to be in any mood to “dignify” such questions. So let’s answer these important questions ourselves, shall we? These shrill claims sound true perhaps only because they are being amplified by a noisy clique of “activists” who enjoy cozy relationships with Big Corporate news media organisations in the Philippines and in the West that are only too happy to help propagate unverified and unchallenged opinions.
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It is time Filipinos educate themselves on the matter. The bill, is available for download from the Philippine Senate website here for anyone to examine.
The fact is, most normal people have no cause to fear this Anti-Terrorism Law. This is because this law is applicable only to organisations deemed to be terrorist in nature.
Item (m) of Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of the Bill stipulates;
Terrorist Organization, Association or Group of Persons shall refer to any entity organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism, or those proscribed under Section 26 hereof or the United Nations Security Council-designated terrorist organization
Section 26 of the Act spells out a rigorous process of designating an organisation as terrorist that is subject to proscription. The process gives ample opportunity to persons and organisations of interest to state their side contrary to Sta. Maria’s “opinion”. Section 26 states that they will be given “due notice and opportunity to be heard” before they are declared to be terrorists and outlawed. The rest of the Section lays out a reasonable procedure that involves multiple parties and agencies that collectively dilute any imagined singular power they claim a Chief Executive could “abuse”.
It is understandable why Filipino communists are on edge. The United States State Department has included the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) in its list of designated foreign terrorist organisations since 2002. The European Union for its part also includes the CPP/NPA in its terrorist blacklist. And while there is no record of any United Nations document doing the same, the CPP/NPA appears in the terrorist lists of most of the Philippines’ other Western allies including Canada and Australia. A late 2018 Forbes report even describes the NPA as “among the deadliest groups operating outside the main terrorist hotspots of Africa and the Middle East”. The report goes further to highlight how “last year it killed 113 people in 235 attacks around the country.”
Filipinos are being led to believe that the The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will be a menace to everyone. The fact is, it is only a menace to terrorists — specifically the CPP/NPA and its vast network of front organisations many of which operate within most of the Philippines’ university campuses where they are known to engage in the radicalisation and recruitmenf of young people into their crooked “cause”.
It’s time Filipinos put their foot down and allow their state security forces enough latitude to crush the social cancer that is communism and the terrorism its Filipino adherents mount against their fellow Filipinos.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.