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Now Reading: DRACONIAN LAW | Duterte allays public fears on new anti-terrorism law
DRACONIAN LAW | Duterte allays public fears on new anti-terrorism law
July 8, 2020 , 10:27 AM

By Manny Mogato, News5 editor-at-large

(July 8, 2020) – President Rodrigo Duterte early on Wednesday allayed public fears on the widely opposed anti-terrorism law, saying the government was only after groups of people out to destroy democracy.

In a recorded broadcast aired early on Wednesday morning, the popular leader said law abiding citizens need not worry about the law, which was challenged by lawyers’ group before the Supreme Court on Monday.

“And for the law-abiding citizen of this country, I am addressing you with all sincerity: Huwag ho kayong matakot kung hindi ka terorista,” Duterte said.

“Kung hindi ka naman sisirain mo ang gobyerno, pasabugin mo ang simbahan, pasabugin mo iyong public utilities, pasabugin mo iyong… Well, just to derail para matumba na tuloy ang bayan.”

Congress passed the controversial law just before the first regular session ended last month, prioritizing it over crucial legislation needed to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, like cash subsidies and an economic stimulus package.

The president signed it into law last week despite calls from journalists, business, church leaders, lawyers, some lawmakers and human rights advocates to veto the bill because some provisions would violate the 1987 constitution.

The president said he expected there are groups that will challenge the law before the Supreme Court but was confident the challenges will be defeated because government needs legal tools to fight terrorism.

He described the anti-terrorism law as “the much-needed legal weapons that we need to fight terrorism” against the Communists and groups behind church bombings in Mindanao.

In 2017, a small but violent pro-Islamic State militant group seized control of Marawi City and occupied it for five months before security forces retook it in a destructive conflict.

“Ang terrorism ho hindi ito isa, dalawang putok. As what happened in Mindanao and in other places, mostly in Mindanao, ang ginagamit kasi nito nila, bomba,” he said to make people understand why the law is needed.

The president said he will not hesitate to kill people who will harm innocent civilians in a terrorist attack.

“Sinbi nila: ‘Duterte patay dito, patay doon.’ Totoo. ‘Pag pinatay mo ang mga tao, papatayin talaga kita,” he said.

“If you do that to the people, if you kill them wantonly, then I will take it as a right to kill you. Ano ba naman iyong problema ninyong kill, kill, kill?”

The law will take effect 15 days after it was signed and published in a newspaper.

But progressive groups have already reported experiencing harassment even if the anti-terror law has yet to take effect.

Gabriela Party-list condemned the arrest of their 6th nominee, Jen Nagrampa, on Tuesday in Camarines Sur.

The group said Nagrampa, who is the regional chairperson of Gabriela in Bicol and a barangay councilor in Nabua, was nabbed based on “fabricated double murder charges.”

On the same day, the secretary-general of workers group Karapatan reported that she was served a moot arrest warrant by cops posing to be a courier of a delivery company.

“I was surprised when a guy who introduced himself as an LBC courier served me the arrest warrant on this cay today. And then another guy in plainclothes introduced himself as the cop and he said he is from Camp Karingal,” Cristina Palabay posted on Facebook.

She told them that there was already a recall order last April, but the cops allegedly said they only got the warrant yesterday.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon had filed a perjury complaint against Karapatan and two other groups, which was dismissed by a Quezon City prosecutor, but was revived by another court after Esperon’s appeal.

Duterte also addressed Maria Ressa, the CEO of news website Rappler and an award-winning journalist, who was convicted of cyber-libel.

“Too early for you to enjoy yung award-award. You are a fraud,” Duterte said. (Katrina Elaine Alba)

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