Dispatch from Crame No. 838: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Supplemental Dispatch on the Signing of the Terror Bill by Mr. Duterte


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The enactment of the Terror Bill is like giving a gun to a schoolyard bully.

That Mr. Duterte signed R.A. No. 11479, otherwise known as “The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020”, is no surprise. He advocated for it, he certified it as urgent, and it certainly fits his autocratic rule. It is only fitting that he does so mere days after his masters in Beijing enacted the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which stifled whatever is left of their right to free speech.

Mr. Duterte’s regime is marked by Congress giving into his extraordinary demands for more and more power, and budget, on the vague promises of stopping criminality, terrorism, and yes, even COVID-19.

Mr. Duterte was given historical levels of intelligence funds supposedly against drugs and criminality, practically unchecked and unsupervised martial law regime in Mindanao, and unprecedented funds and powers to address the COVID-19 crisis. Yet, in spite of all these, the promises remain unfulfilled and our country is in no better condition than we were before these Congressional tributes, or even worse.

R.A. No. 11479, in the hands of Mr. Duterte, is just another weapon for his lawfare against lawful dissent, political rivals, and the rest of our countrymen demanding accountability for his misgovernance, injustices and treason. This scenario is not unfounded. In his four years in office, we have seen him use our laws to bully the opposition, journalists, activists and human rights defenders, and yes, even major TV stations who dare speak truth to power.

In my case, we have seen how he used convicted felons and other dubious characters just to silence and incarcerate me and keep me from effectively calling out his abuses. How many more cases need to happen before we see this pattern of systematic destruction of our democracy and human rights?

Malinaw sa ating karanasan na ginagamit niya ang batas para paboran ang kaniyang mga kaibigan at siilin ang mga nagsasalita ng katotohanan. Ang isang batas na nagbibigay sa rehimen na ito ng karagdagang kapangyarihang manmanan, bawian ng ari-arian, at ipakulong ng walang warrant ang mga kalaban ni Duterte sa pulitika at ang mga taong nagsasalita ng katotohanan ay hindi isang batas na dapat manaig sa isang demokrasya na tulad ng sa atin.

With legal challenges expected to reach it, I call on our Supreme Court to protect our democracy and invalidate this legal abomination before Mr. Duterte, and other tyrants that might follow him, inflict further oppression and repression upon our people. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 838, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._838)

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