DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Bayan Muna Party-list rejected the proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to revive the Anti-Subversion Law, saying it will be “a throwback to Marcosian dictatorship.”
Atty Carlos Isagani Zarate, Bayan Muna Representative and House Deputy Minority Leader, warned that more cases of indiscriminate arrests and filing of trumped up charges, especially against critics of the Duterte administration will happen.
“This is a patently draconian proposal and is a throwback to the martial law years,” Zarate said.
The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos used the Anti-Subversion Law (Republic Act 1700) to detain critics and activists during Martial Law from 1972 to 1981.
Secretary Año proposed the revival of this law, citing intelligence reports that around 1,000 students have been “indoctrinated” into the communist movement.
The former Armed Forces Chief turned secretary made this statement following a Senate committee hearing on the alleged recruitment of youth activists to join “left-leaning organizations”.
Zarate, however, said the revival of the law “will definitely curtail our freedom of association, our freedom of expression and our freedom of assembly.”
“The anti-subversion law was patently and gravely anti-democratic – in fact its anti-people ghost is still haunting us now more than two decades after it was buried; we should not allow that it will be resurrected by the same mold of anti-democratic forces who used it to oppress our people,” Zarate added.
The Anti-Subversion Law was repealed in the early 1990s by President Fidel Ramos who pursued peace talks with the National Democratic Front.
Año said the Anti-Subversion Law would complement the president’s Executive Order No. 70, institutionalizing the “Whole-of-the-Nation Approach” and creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to address the five-decade communist insurgency.
But Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said this proposal is an expansion of Martial Law in Mindanao to the whole country.
“The public should reject this proposal or else we will lose what we fought for to restore our democratic rights,” said Cullamat.
Cullamat said Martial Law is much abused in Mindanao, as Lumad, Moro and farmers are subjected to arrests, harassment and killings.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) called Año’s proposal “a Jurassic idea which has the effect of curtailing freedom of association and political beliefs.”
“Such legislation, long abandoned as being anachronistic, ineffective, and oft-abused as a tool of political persecution and harassment, can be challenged at the appropriate time based on many constitutional grounds,” said NUPL President Atty. Edre Olalia.
Human rights group Karapatan said the revival of this law means the Duterte government will add another label against critics, and to “legitimize repression and box critics into dangerous labels that lays down the pretext for state forces to persecute them.” (davaotoday.com)