Arroyo regime’s Anti-terrorism Bill will kill the Peace Negotiations

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) vigorously condemns the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill now being railroaded by the Arroyo regime in the Senate.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) vigorously condemns the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill now being railroaded by the Arroyo regime in the Senate.

This proposed bill, with its vague and sweeping definition of terrorism, will be an evil instrument in the hands of the Arroyo regime in further illegalizing and suppressing the legitimate dissent and protest activities of its critics and opponents.

It practically establishes a police state. The proposed Anti-Terrorism Council, headed by Gloria Arroyo, will be a fascist junta, clothed with vast powers of tyrannical oppression. The proposed bill allows warrantless arrests, prolonged detention without charges, the arbitrary freezing and sequestration of financial assets and the violation of one’s right to privacy through unhampered use of electronic surveillance.

It empowers police, military and other law enforcement officers and teams, through designated Regional Trial Courts, to gain secret access to bank accounts and other private records and thereafter to order the freezing of bank accounts and other assets and their eventual confiscation.

Anyone “charged or suspected” of the “crime of terrorism” or “conspiracy to commit terrorism” or of being “an accomplice or accessory” can be subjected to numerous forms of punitive actions in violation of his/her fundamental rights. False witnesses against organizations and individuals hated by the regime are given immunity, thus allowing authorities complete license to persecute and impose punitive sanctions on large numbers of people.

The proposed bill allows the proscription and banning of liberation movements, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the NDFP just by branding them as “judicially declared ‘terrorist’ organizations”.

It tramples upon the basic provisions, the letter and spirit of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. In particular, it flagrantly violates “the individual and collective right of the people and of communities to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches, and to effective safeguards of these rights against any illegal operations by GRP agencies.” (CARHRIHL, Part III, Art. 2, No. 6). It would likewise violate “the right to liberty, particularly against unwarranted and unjustified detention and to effectively avail of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.” (CARHRIHL, Part III, Art. 2, No. 5)

This proposed bill likewise violates fundamental international human rights law. Just to cite one basic provision from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which the Republic of the Philippines is a State Party, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.” (Art. 9, No. 1)

With such glaring breaches of international law and the CARHRIHL, and its utter contempt for the fundamental rights of the people, the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill, if passed into law, will kill the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

The NDFP calls on the Filipino people to vigorously oppose this malevolent scheme of the Arroyo regime and support those senators and other congresspersons who oppose the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill.

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