Criminalizing communism: Revival of anti-subversion law needs work, says former executive secretary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2019 09:06 AM | Updated as of Aug 20 2019 09:24 AM

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MANILA - A proposal to criminalize communism and amend the counter-terrorism law needs further review, former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita said Tuesday.

Ermita, who as a congressman sponsored the bill that repealed the Anti-Subversion Act in 1992, said lawmakers should "take a close look" at the abolished measure and the Human Security Act.

"There are a lot of details that I’m sure can be worked out and find out whether the situation right now really would call for a new law," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"It’s about time that this is opened to media that there is a need to review either law, for those involved in government to sit down with somebody designated by the President to chair over the bureau and sabi nga, himayin mabuti ang mga detalye ng batas (like they say, look closely into the details of the law)."

The Philippine military earlier said it supports outlawing communism and amending provisions of the Human Security Act, citing rising terror threats in Mindanao and the left's alleged recruitment of the youth.

The Armed Forces proposed 7 amendments to the law, including the removal of the P500,000 fine per day of detention upon a law enforcer who mistakenly accused and prosecuted a person for terrorism.

Ermita, who also served as peace negotiator under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said the provision should not be amended.

"I don’t think it should be relaxed. The important thing is the continuous education of our people involved in the enforcement of the law so they can effectively perform their duties without being against the wall later on because of their unlawful act," he said.

Authorities should however review the law's coverage on wiretapping and looking into the bank accounts of possible terrorist financiers, Ermita said.

"I think it’s very necessary for authorities to review the coverage of this, even the matter of how to get a warrant of arrest against persons suspected of being terrorists," he said.