Jul 3, 2020 @ 19:27

NUPL describes signing of anti-terror legislation “a day of infamy”

Following the signing of the anti-terror bill into law, the National Union of People’s Lawyers on Friday vowed to exhaust all available remedies in challenging the legality of the controversial legislation.

Earlier, presidential spokesman Harry Roque disclosed that President Duterte has finally signed the bill into law.

“We will not cease to exhaust any and all legitimate steps and platforms to challenge this draconian law.”

“In time, we will look back to this day of infamy and say the unbridled and terrorizing power of the government will always bend and retreat eventually when the people push back hard enough,” the NUPL said.

Opposition is mouting against the proposed anti-terror law as human rights and religious groups called the attention of lawmakers to the supposed constitutional violations that might occur if the bill is signed into law.

In a statement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) which comprises the country’s top Catholic schools and universities stressed that the proposed legislation is prone to abuse and misuse.

“This bill can be abused to stifle dissent and curtail rights to free speech, to organize and form associations, to peaceable assembly in redress of grievances,” the AMRSP said

“Terrorism is not our immediate concern. Marawi’s rehabilitation and the continued displacement of communities should be our priority. People’s health, safety, and well-being should be first in our agenda. ”

“These are the urgent concerns that we as a people need to address. These are the challenges that government can address by channeling resources for its resolution,” the group added.

Recently, the Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties (CLCL) claimed that the proposed legislation ‘expanded’ the definition of terrorism, which may allow the government to extensively crackdown on its critics.

“The danger therein lies with how the government can construe legitimate acts of dissent or opposition within these definitions – it gives the government almost free reign in determining who are ‘suspected terrorists,'” CLCL said.

“Even ordinary citizens airing their grievances against government on social media may fall within its ambit,” it added.

Earlier, the NUPL thumbed down the proposed law, saying it would only worsen the present administration’s abuses.

“The bill, should it become law, will only serve to worsen the climate of impunity that has made the Philippines fertile ground for extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, and crackdowns against activists and progressive organizations and even ordinary citizens,” the NUPL said in a statement.

“As such, there is an urgent need to stop the passage of this bill at the earliest opportunity. The dangers it poses are incalculable, and the risks are too great for people to turn a blind eye under the misguided assumption that their own freedoms would not be affected,” it added.#

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