MANILA - Critics of the controversial Anti-Terror Law were “proven correct” in their opposition towards the measure, as they recorded incidents that the law is being used to “terrorize the public,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said on the anniversary of the measure becoming law.
In a statement, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, implemented with a front to sharpen the government’s anti-terrorism campaign, was the state’s "instrument to terrorize the public and reinforce Duterte’s own reign of terror" adding that the public bore the brunt of the measure's effects.
The administration has many times defended the measure as a means to deter terrorism.
Reyes cited the government’s supposed use of the law against 2 Aetas who were allegedly tortured and falsely accused of being communist rebels.
The law, Reyes said, was also used to “designate the CPP-NPA as “terrorist groups” - which he said affected the peace process between government and the communist movement.
He reiterated anew that the law was used to designate activists as terrorists “without due process and without any evidence nor clear parameters” used to intimidate the media, lawyers, activists, and critics.
He added that the measure was “exposed” to have provisions “that threaten our basic Constitutional rights and that its Implementing Rules and Regulations cannot cure the basic defects of the law.”
Duterte signed the measure on July 3 last year, with the law taking effect on July 18 - much to the objection of rights groups locally and overseas. They cited possible abuses this may pose to government critics, citing the president's past pronouncements against opposition groups.
Some 37 petitions were submitted challenging the Anti-Terror Law at the Supreme Court, with oral arguments starting just last February after supposed delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and concluding last May.
Reyes warned that the said measure can be weaponized during the elections against those opposing Duterte.
“The Terror Law can also be used during the elections if it is not stopped. It can be used against the broad Opposition to Duterte’s desperate attempt to remain in Malacañang beyond 2022," he said.
"The people must continue to oppose this fascist law and keep an eye on the petitions pending before the Supreme Court today. The broad united front against Duterte’s Terror Law will continue to fight for human rights amid continuing state terror,” Reyes said.