Anti-subversion law to legitimize repression – rights group

In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) called this proposal as an ��excavation of a jurassic idea which has the effect of curtailing freedom of association and political beliefs which are in fact crucial ingredients for democracy to flourish.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The revival of the Anti-Subversion law will only add to repressive policies already implemented by President Duterte’s administration, said human rights group Karapatan, in reaction to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.

“It will add another moniker to the Duterte government’s many labels against critics and activists. From destabilizers, demons, enemies of the State, terrorists, here now comes the newest recycled label: subversives,” said Karapatan vice-chairperson Reylan Vergara.

“All these serve the same goal – to legitimize repression and box critics into dangerous labels that lays down the pretext for state forces to persecute them,” he added.

The idea of reviving the Anti-Subversion Law was thumbed down by many groups. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that mere membership to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is not a crime. The Palace on the other hand, says the proposal requires study.

Anti-Subversion Law, which was enacted in 1957, declared the CPP as illegal. Membership to the group was also punishable by imprisonment up to 12 years.

In 1992, the law was repealed under then President Fidel Ramos, who engaged CPP, New People’s Army- National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) in peace talks.

Año proposed the revival of the law after the parents of several youth activists claimed their children were kidnapped by progressive youth organization, Anakbayan.

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In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) called this proposal as an “excavation of a jurassic idea which has the effect of curtailing freedom of association and political beliefs which are in fact crucial ingredients for democracy to flourish.”

NUPL President Edre Olalia said such legislation can be challenged based on many constitutional grounds.

“In the meantime, if not nipped in the bud, dissenters, fiscalizers, critics, activists, and the opposition that up until this time are still giving the narrowing democratic space a chance will have to endure this Damocles sword hanging over their heads, preparatory perhaps to a political guillotine to silence them and make everybody unthinking androids all,” said Olalia. ()

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