The soon to be approved Anti Terrorism Act of 2020 authored by Sen Ping Lacson, himself a former PNP chief, which just passed the Senate with a vote of 19-2 and surely anytime it will also pass the pro-Duterte house of representatives, —seems to display a future chilling if not terrifying effect on citizens who might get the ire of the administration.
The most chilling effect of this new anti terrorism law coming this year 2020 are the following provisions:
- Arrest without warrant from 3 days detention to l4 days plus ten days extension; 2. Cellphone providers and telcos will be compelled to monitor the calls , texts and internet files of suspected terrorists 3. The wire tapping of journalists lines and their sources as well as the phones of other professionals like lawyers and their clients, doctors and their patients, confidential business letters;
In short, government can use this anti terrorism law as a weapon to target anyone whom it perceives to be enemies of the state. In short, this could be abused like the old marcos martial law.
However, we are appeased a bit to know that under this anti terrorism law, it is required that authority from the Court of Appeals be secured first, as a requirement prior to any surveillance and proscription. Also the nearest judge and the Human Rights Commission officers have to be informed of all arrests, under pain of stiff jail penalties for abusers and violators. —if government enforcers will comply.
Under this forthcoming law a “terrorist” is defined as “any person within or outside the Philippines, who regardless of the stage of execution of his acts, intends to kill or cause injury , danger to lives of people , inflict extensive damage to any government or private facility, critical infrastructure; or who develops or makes, posses, transports, supplies or uses weapons of mass destruction to intimidate the public, create an atmosphere of fear, intimidate or destabilize government functions.. All these are punishable with life imprisonment upon conviction, under the new anti terrorism act of 2020 already approved by the Senate and soon the lower House. This is Senate bill 1083…which reminds us of Martial Law Proclamation by Marcos No. 1081 as amended by 1082. And now Senate bill 1083, truly showing the trimmings of Martial Rule.
Let us see if under the present democratic order, as it will surely pass both houses, this will create stiff public uproar and opposition.