Anti-terror Bill to complete gov’t arsenal of repressive policies

March 28, 2006 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

The all-members caucus’ agreement to tackle the Anti-terror Bill today raises new fears that it would be railroaded by pro-administration legislators. Despite being certified urgent by Malacanang, the bill was stalled for several months for reasons that clearly indicate that it is neither urgent nor necessary. This renewed interest on the legislation, therefore, is suspect, especially in a situation where our civil liberties are still under threat.

If enacted, the Anti-terror Bill would complete the arsenal of policies – from the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) and E.O. 464 to the declaration of Proclamation 1017 – that the government could use to quell legitimate dissent and silence persistent and growing doubts on President GMA’s mandate. The bill widens the net of the government’s crackdown against the opposition and media, since the ambiguity of the proposed law and the power it grants to the government make it easy to construe expressions or reportage of anti-government sentiments as acts of terror.

It is but impossible not to relate the renewed push for the passage of the Anti-terror bill to the on-going assault against civil liberties. We in AKBAYAN have objected to the bill’s passage before because it gives the state powers that are useless in the face of terror but are, on the other hand, repressive toward anti-government forces. We still maintain that the bill is inept in addressing terror for its vagueness and the insufficiency of intelligence reports as the basis of criminal prosecution. It is, however, still extremely threatening to civil liberties, as it can be used to anyone or any organization declared by the state as agents of terror. The danger that this presents, especially in the hands of this abusive state, is exponential.

There are, therefore, more reasons why the bill’s passage must be quashed. Since the start of the ‘Hello Garci’ hearings, the government has shown its propensity to abuse our laws to suppress the growing clamor for truth and justice. An anti-terror law would only give the President’s repressive policies a mantle of legitimacy and would further violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The approval of the bill would finally signal the death of our bill of rights and usher the birth of a police state.

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Entry filed under: AKBAYAN in Congress, Press Kit, Statements.

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