Anti-Terror Bill "a dangerous ingredient to Duterte's recipe for
June 2, 2020
QUEZON CITY – The
Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Arresto (SELDA), a
group of ex-political detainees mostly during the Martial Law
regime, strongly denounces the railroading of the administration's
so-called "Anti-Terror Bill", calling it "a dangerous ingredient to
Duterte's recipe for fascism and dictatorship."
"Obviously, this is
becoming a cooking show and the president is hungry for more power.
Now that he has certified the Anti-Terror Bill as urgent, his allies
in the legislature are now brewing this law as an add-on to his
already tyrannical rule. But this is nothing new. We had seen this
before with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Clearly, the
president is desperate to fulfill his Marcosian fantasy. But this
has to stop," said Danilo Dela Fuente, the group's spokesperson.
Under the Anti-Terror
Bill, law enforcement agents will be given the power to arrest
anyone without warrant based only on suspicion as authorized by the
Anti-Terror Council - a panel made up of top cabinet officials which
will be given functions otherwise reserved for courts. Furthermore,
the bill exempts law enforcement agents from liability. It even
allows prolonged detention without charges of "suspected terrorists"
for up to 24 days.
"It's extremely callous
and inhumane of this administration to prioritize the enactment of
this bill amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative
socioeconomic effects, but it is not surprising. While everyone is
trying to keep themselves safe from the virus, the spate of
political killings and harassment continued. Even ordinary citizens
who expressed their dissatisfaction towards the administration's
anti-people schemes have been served subpoenas or were put under
surveillance, harassed, and arrested. This bill will serve as the
stamp of approval from this administration to continue its witch
hunt against activists and its quest to tone down the public's
growing unrest," said Dela Fuente.
"Similar to how Marcos
suspended the writ of habeas corpus at the dawn of his bloody
regime, this law is cleverly designed to arrest this
administration's critics and silence the growing dissent and
discontent of the masses. It further emboldens state security to
amplify the culture of impunity and bastardizes our inherent rights
to freely express ourselves, including our discontentment and
grievances. More importantly, it formalizes Duterte's dictatorship
and allows him to concoct more ways on how to maintain his control
and power over the land through fascist and militarist means,
exposing ordinary citizens to heightened state terrorism, abuse of
power, and intensified human rights violations. This is outrageous,"
he further stressed.
"Expressing dissent and
calling the government's attention to address the root causes of
poverty, inequality, and injustice should never be considered as a
crime. Enacting this bill will jeopardize the lives of many
activists, human rights workers, and even ordinary citizens who are
thirsty for genuine social change. We in SELDA are one with the
nation in opposing Duterte's draconian measures and desperate
attempts to cling to power. Junk Duterte's Terror Bill!", the SELDA