The implementing rules and regulations issued by Duterte’s Anti-Terror Council details how the so-called Anti-Terror Law will be used to stifle dissent and suppress civil and political rights. It attempts to give the law a facade of “respect for human rights” but its fascist fangs are revealed in the details.
Section 4.4 is particularly deceptive which lists advocacy, protest and other similar exercises of civil and political rights as “not considered terrorism” BUT ONLY IF these do not serve “terrorist” aims which include to “intimidate the general public” or “create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear” and other criteria which the Duterte cabal can conjure against its critics.
The DOJ claims that the rules stipulate that “mere suspicion” is not ground for arrest. However, the rules state that individual or groups can be designated as terrorists by the ATC “on reasonable ground of suspicion” which, of course, will be to the determination of the zealots in the ATC.
The ATC declares it does not claim judicial or quasi-judicial powers, yet it empowered itself to release a list of “designated terrorists” which will practically serve as death sentence to those who will included. This overturns the internationally accepted norms of due process and the underlying tenet of “innocent unless proven guilty” as those in the list will surely be treated as guilty and be subjected to state repression and liquidation. This makes a mockery of humanity’s achievements in the field of bourgeois law and human rights. This law and its rules are a slap on international legal conventions and sets the country apart as a pariah.
This is no different from the AFP’s counterinsurgency practice of maintaining a “list of NPA members and supporters” and requiring those in the barrios to submit themselves to its authority under pain of arrest or extrajudicial killing.
The rules of the ATA, furthermore, gives wide latitude for state forces to carry out warrantless arrests and prolonged detention of up to 24 days without charges, surveillance and wiretapping, restricting people’s right to travel and other draconian powers.
The Party joins civil libertarians, defenders of human rights and freedom-loving Filipinos in denouncing these implementing rules and regulations and in reiterating the demand for the junking of Duterte’s terror law.
The negative repercussions of this undemocratic law on civil rights and freedoms are gross and far-reaching. The broad range of democratic forces must unite, stand firmly, mightily oppose this law and clamor for its immediate repeal.
All those responsible for this fascist law must be made to pay for enabling Duterte to reign with brazen terrorism. They should be ousted together with the tyrant himself in order to pave the way for the restoration of freedoms under a new, more democratic regime.