Denounce plans to sharpen fangs of anti-terror law

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) assails proposals by fascists in
Congress to sharpen the fangs of the reviled Republic Act No. 9372 or the Human
Security Act (HSA) of 2007. If such proposals are passed, these would expressly
serve to reinforce the repressive regime in the face of the increasing
insecurity of Duterte’s rule.

Passed under the Arroyo regime, the HSA was patterned after the anti-terror US
Patriot Act. It was then heavily lobbied by the US imperialists in line with its
“war on terror.” Authored by Marcos martial law-era defense minister Juan Ponce
Enrile, the HSA contains overly broad and ambigous provisions that can be
utilized to easily tag and proscribe democratic people’s organizations as
terrorist groups, and arbitrarily criminalize any and all critics and political
opponents of the regime.

With the proposed amendments, the HSA’s fangs will be further sharpened, further
broaden Duterte’s autocratic powers and serve his plan to strengthen his
tyrannical rule.

Under the proposed amendments pushed by militarist-minded solons Amado Espino
Jr., Gary Alejano, and Leopoldo Bataoil—all former police and military
officials—a redefinition of terrorism will make it further encompassing and
allow the reactionary state to arbitrarily and almost automatically tag any act
of resistance or political dissent as terrorism. It will consider terrorists
those who commit felonies “to intimidate a population, or to compel a
government, an international organization, or any person or entity, to do or to
abstain from doing any act.”

The proposed amendments also empower the state to conduct electronic or physical
surveillance on anyone based on mere suspicion. The draft bill also intensifies
the punishments and even encourages the use of torture and other inhuman acts
against individuals held in custody.

Duterte is the first president to employ the HSA when he issued proclamation 374
declaring the CPP and NPA as “terrorists.” He also threatened to outlaw legal
progressive and democratic organizations under the Terrorism Finance Prevention
and Suppression Act of 2012. Subsequently, the Department of Justice filed a
case last February that seeks to proscribe the CPP and the New People’s Army as
terrorist organizations, naming at least 657 activists, political personalities,
NDFP peace consultants and other individuals as supposed leaders and members of
the two groups, drawing widespread domestic and international denunciation.

The proposed amendments to the HSA will provide Duterte legal cover for his
blossoming dictatorial rule. Accordingly, if the amendments aiming to further
strengthen HSA are passed, there will be no more need to formally declare
martial law, as this patently fascist measure will already suffice.