Akbayan to challenge Anti-Terrorism Bill at Supreme Court

Akbayan to challenge Anti-Terrorism Bill at Supreme Court

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NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.

Akbayan Party will file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) with the Supreme Court over the Anti-Terrorism Bill.

“Duterte’s terror bill is grossly unconstitutional,” former Commission on Human Rights chairperson and Akbyan leader Etta Rosales said.

According to Rosales, the bill both broadens and makes vague definitions of terrorism. Sharing dissenting opinions or joining organizations or unions can now be freely tagged as terrorist acts.

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By citing such direct or indirect collusion with “terrorists,” police are now emboldened to arrest by suspicion. This is contrary to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. The bill also allows individuals to be detained without a court case for up to 24 days, where the Constitution only allows for up to 3 days.

“The bill regresses us to the days of Marcos,” Rosales added. “It brings back the Anti-Subversion Law that Marcos used to justify mass arrests, detention, torture, and killings in his dictatorship. Such a bill legitimizes the same justified repression of the Anti-Subversion Law. Passing this bill into law means allowing the same abuses of martial law to be enacted now. Everything we had won after Marcos is swept under the rug. It makes a mockery of the people’s uprising for freedom, justice and democracy 34 years ago,” Rosales added.

Rosales added that we should hold accountable both houses of Congress for passing the Terror Bill with little opposition.

“To those who lived through martial law, why do you forget so quickly the struggle 34 years ago that ousted a tyrant who killed our people for self-rule?”

Rosales explained that prior to the law, the Duterte administration had actively suppressed opposition.

“They arrested Sen. de Lima, filed a quo warranto on CJ Sereno, tagged hundreds of individuals in his ‘terror matrix.’ How much more now with this law?”

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She urged that we remain vigilant that this bill will not be used to silence us once more.

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“We call on all Filipinos who love their country and the democracy fought for by our heroes and martyrs to junk Duterte’s terror bill!”##

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