De Lima tells youth: Exert concerted effort against the Anti-Terror Law


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the youth to work together to push for the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Law which opened a floodgate for abuses because of its vagueness.

In her message for the Group of Achievers, Brave and Active Youth’s (GABAY) webinar dubbed “Understanding the New Law: Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” last April 9, De Lima said the Anti-Terror Act must not be allowed to continue to exist in a country where the Filipinos’ forefathers have fought and died for democracy.

“You are the future of this country on whose shoulders bear the weight of the consequences of the decisions made by a government that thrived on failure, abuse and oppression,” she said.

“Because of this, it is a challenge for you to have a better understanding of this law so that it cannot be used against you, so that you may help educate others, so that we can work together to clamor for the immediate declaration of its unconstitutionality,” she added.

Duterte signed into law the Anti-Terrorism bill last July 3, 2020. Now Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the law gives more surveillance powers to government forces.

The said law, which replaces the Human Security Act of 2007, uses an overbroad definition of terrorism that can subject suspects, even those apprehended without a warrant, to weeks of detention prior to an appearance before a judge.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, pointed out that there is no place for the Anti-Terror Act in a democratic society where freedom of speech and expression should be perpetually protected and shielded from all efforts to silence the public.

Walang puwang dapat ang isang batas na sa sobrang labnaw ay mas magagamit pa ito laban sa tao kaysa para sa tao. Kaya imbes na protektahan ang tao, magiging armas pa ito laban sa tao at kasangkapan para sa karahasan,” she said.

“Democracy demands dissent. Ang nagsasalita, ang uma-aray at lumalaban ay hindi terorista. Ngunit sa ilalim ng batas na ito, pinapatawan ng napakalawak na kapangyarihan ang gobyerno upang busalan ang taumbayan,” she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol further lamented that the Anti-Terror Law “produces a chilling effect that can only be cured by striking it down.”

“A law that seeks to protect the nation must lessen our fears, not add to it. Mas higit ang nailuwal na takot ng batas na ito kaysa sa pakiramdam ng kaligtasan na dapat taglay ng ating mga batas,” said she.

Sa sobrang lawak nito, kahit sino ay maaaring tatakang terorista bagamat ginagamit lamang nila ang boses at kalayaang magsalita na ginagarantiya ng ating Konstitusyon,” she added.

In rejecting the Anti-Terrorism Act, De Lima cited her plight under the Duterte regime saying that the injustices and persecution that she is experiencing are a clear manifestation of the great lengths those in power can go to harass and prosecute political opponents and to silence legitimate dissent.

Kaya ito ay isang hamon sa ating lahat, na hindi payagan pang patuloy na mag-hari ang mga ito. We all dream of a safer, freer and more peaceful world. But what is the point of dreaming without concrete action,” said she. (30)

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