AUGUST 14, 2019 – Reviving the Anti-Subversion Law will only reinforce student activism instead of preventing the youth from joining militant organizations, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines asserted on Wednesday.
In an interview with Radyo Singko’s Early All Ready, self-exiled leader Joma Sison downplayed the proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to stop the recruitment of leftists groups in schools.
“The revival of the Anti-Subversion law will not discourage students but in fact it will push the students to take action, to join organizations that would defend democratic rights and stand up against those authorities wanting to supress them in any way possible,” Sison said.
“It was in fact a challenge or even a provocation to us who were student activists, that there was the Anti-Subversion Law. We were conscious of it as something that violated the freedom of thought, expression, and assembly,” recalled Sison, who was among those who fought the Marcos dictatorship.
The communist leader further took a swipe on former military chief Año, comparing him to former Defense Secretary and President Fidel Ramos.
“I think mas malayong mas matalino si Ramos…mas [experienced] kaysa itong Año. Si Año ay sisiw lang kung ikumpara kay Ramos sa kanyang karanasan sa pakikitungguli sa kilusang rebolusyunaryo,” Sison said.
The Anti-Subversion Law was repealed in 1992 under Ramos due to its perceived infringement of constitutional rights. Ramos also pursued peace negotiations with communists rebels.
Sison, however, warned that reinstating the law may lead to the passage of more anti-democratic measures under the Duterte administration.
“The targets have not only [been] the communists and the revolutionaries in the battlefield, but also [the] critics who are available for military and police suppression,” he said.
Sison also accused President Rodrigo Duterte of perpetuating a repressive system and ensuring a ready successor after his term ends in 2022.
“He is afraid of being brought to court, specifically the International Criminal Court, for the mass murders that have been committed in relation to his war on drugs and counter-insurgency campaign,” he said.
Some lawmakers have already opposed the Anti-Subversion Law and pushed instead for amendments in the Human Security Act that would ensure state protection against acts of terrorism.
“It encroaches on the fundamental right to a peaceful assembly, to protest. I don’t think I will support that,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Tuesday.
The Department of Justice also shared the same position.
“With all due respect to Sec. Año, mere membership in the CPP is not a crime unless overt criminal acts are committed. Amending and giving more teeth to the Human Security Act will suffice, in my opinion,” Secretary Menardo Guevarra said. (By Karen Macalalad / AAD)