(AUGUST 13, 2019) – Senator Panfilo Lacson opposed the reinstatement of the Anti-Subversion Law, amid the calls by members of the security cluster due to alleged heightened recruitment by leftist groups.
The senator explained that bringing the law back, which was repealed by President Fidel Ramos in 1992, will violate certain rights of an individual.
“It encroaches on the fundamental right to a peaceful assembly, to protest. I don’t think I will support that,” Lacson said in an interview.
Instead, the chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said he would rather push for a stronger anti-terrorism measure that will help curb radicalization among minors.
The senator also said there is nothing wrong with joining left-leaning organizations like the Kabataan Party-list or Anakbayan, so long as they do not join the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the communist party.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon echoed Lacson in a statement, saying the Anti-Subversion Law was buried a long time ago because it was repressive of some human rights.
“[I]t was proven that such a policy, aside from being prone to abuse and a tool to harass, undermined some of our basic Constitutional rights,” Drilon told.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s suggested restoring the law, noting that its measures could prevent communist rebels from targeting schools and persuading minors to join their ranks.
During the Senate hearing earlier, Año explained that only the communist party and its affiliates will be targeted should the law be reinstated. The opposition and other political parties will not be touched, he said.
But for Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a tougher Human Security Act will suffice. He said mere membership in the communist party is not a crime, unless one is involved in covert criminal acts. (Randell Ritumalta/JMF)