MANILA - The arrest of protesters advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in Mendiola, Manila is worrisome as it could "further trample" on "citizens' basic rights," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said on Friday.
Police arrested several LGBTQ+ members and media staff, alleging they violated physical distancing protocols during the rally.
"Nakakabahala na kahit mismo sa Pride Month ay inaresto ang mga LGBTQ+ at allies na mahinahon, mapayapa at naka-social distancing na nananawagan para sa kanilang mga karapatan," Hontiveros said in a statement.
"Sa totoo lang, mas na-violate pa ang social distancing dahil sa pag-aresto. May kasama pang miyembro ng media ang dinamay," she added, referring to photos and videos of the arrest showing how protesters were crammed into a vehicle when they were transported to the police station.
Hontiveros warned that "citizens' basic rights" could be "further trampled on" should the Anti-Terror bill be signed into law.
Several groups have been campaigning against the bill, saying that it is prone to abuse as authorities could detain people without warrants if they are deemed terrorists.
"Magtataka pa rin ba tayo kung bakit takot ang mga tao sa Anti-Terror Law?" the senator said.
"Let’s not use the pandemic to further trample on our citizens’ basic rights. Pride & activism are not terrorism."
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the principal author of the Anti-Terror Bill, has repeatedly defended the measure, saying there are enough safeguards in the policy to ensure that authorities will not violate a suspect's human rights.