Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) today expressed “great alarm” over the Senate’s passage of a new anti-terrorism bill that, once it becomes law, “will be the great leap to establish open fascist rule under the Duterte regime.”
“It’s like giving Thanos the Infinity Gauntlet on a silver platter,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, refering to the Marvel supervillain who uses the gauntlet to kill half of all life in the universe.
“The amendments to the Human Security Act broadens the already vague definition of terrorism, gives law enforcers greater powers, and removes safeguards against abuses. In the hands of a fascist ruler like Duterte, this draconian law will surely be used to intimidate, silence and jail citics, political dissenters, members of the opposition, critical media, and anyone that gets the ire of the President. Nobody is safe,” he warned.
Under the proposed bill, not only those who commit terrorist acts, but also those who propose, incite, conspire, and participate in the planning, training, and facilitation of a terrorist attack could suffer the penalty of life imprisonment. The same punishment awaits those who provide support to terrorists and recruit anyone to be a member of a terrorist organization.
Suspected terrorists or terrorist organizations can be arrested without charges for 14-24 days and their assets and bank accounts immediately frozen. They can be placed under surveillance, their phones, emails and social media accounts legally hacked for 60-90 days.
“It’s like Marcos’ Anti-Subversion Act all over again, but this time instead of communism, the pretext is terrorism,” Bayan said.
BAYAN said the “token safeguard” inserted by the Senate in the bill, stating that the law cannot be applied to legitimate protests and advocacy, “rings hollow in the face of the reality of vilification, red-tagging and trumped up charges being used by the Duterte regime against its critics and perceived enemies.”
“As it is, even the constitutionally-guaranteed safeguards enshrined in the bill of rights is being trampled with impunity by the police and military in their Tokhang-style operations against activists and suspected rebels. What more when this bill becomes a law?” Reyes asked.#