Rights advocates rage over SC affirming Anti-terror law

Rights advocates rage over SC affirming Anti-terror law

Manila : Philippines | Oct 12, 2010 at 2:21 AM PDT
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Philippine President Benigno Aquino

QUEZON CITY, Philippines -- The national alliance for human rights in the Philippines, Karapatan, assailed the latest Supreme Court (SC) ruling that affirms the constitutionality of the Human Security Act of 2007 (Republic Act 9372)

It is "paving way for more human rights violations," accrding to the human right group.

As this developed, Victims of Arroyo Regime United of Justice (HUSTISYA!)said its members and relatives of victims under the PNoy government will stage a protest action against the said Supreme Court decision on October 15, in front of the gate of the Supreme Court along Padre Faura St. Ermita, Manila.

Karapatan is among petitioners against the law.

Acting Secretary-general Jigs Clamor said human rights violations in the Philippines has continued under the Aquino administration as attested by 16 reported victims of extra-judicial killings, two victims of enforced disappearances, and continued detention of political prisoners like the Morong 43 health workers illegally searched, arrested, tortured and detained by the military.

"If violations were rampant even before the SC ruling, then it would definitely worsen with a strengthened legal framework by which state authorities could suppress civil and political liberties. This is paving way for more violation of human rights," Clamor said.

Human rights advocate groups have been opposing the passage of the law since 2001. U.S. Director for National Intelligence John Negroponte even came to the Philippines in December 2005 to push for the prompt enactment of the law patterned after the anti-terror US Patriot Act.

"Now, the U.S, had finally found its way under Aquino," Clamor added.

Reacting on the ruling that the petition of Karapatan and others were merely "imagined" and that their "apprehension has no substantial basis," Clamor said as he revealed that countless trumped-up charges have already been filed against leaders and activists of mass organizations and that warrantless arrests and abductions are, in fact, already being committed by the state.
"Worse, the law provides easy proscription and illegalization of people’s organizations and civil society groups," Clamor added.

"They may not have been charged under RA 9372 but by conjured criminal charges. It is the state authorities, especially its security forces in the AFP and PNP, that are acting based on wild imaginations inimical to human rights," Clamor said.

It was Marcos' former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile who authored the "anti-terrorism" law dubbed as the "Human Security Act" to hide its insidious intent. These martial law advocates should be the ones held accountable for real terrorism against thousands of victims, but instead of being punished, he was rewarded the Senate Presidency under Aquino, Clamor said.

"In the Senate, Mar Roxas voted against the HSA. He gave way to Aquino in the presidential bid, but what a way to return a friendship -- Aquino's court affirmed the law," he chided.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has reportedly opposed the law before but is now embroiled with its own fight with Aquino.
"Definitely, Aquino will be gaining more enemies than allies with the the latest SC ruling," Clamor noted. #

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino
Philippine President Benigno Aquino
lynspace is based in Baguio, Cordillera, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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