A statement of strong dissent

A statement of strong dissent

The Missionary Benedictine Sisters of the Manila Priory and the Academic community of St. Scholastica’s College Manila express their strong dissent to the Anti-Terrorism Bill already submitted by Congress to Malacañang.

It seems to us the present Human Security Act (Republic Act. No. 9372, “An Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism”) is sufficient if the targets are the real terrorists deemed so by common understanding.

The Anti-Terrorism enrolled bill submitted by Congress is objectionable to us because of the following reasons:

1. Now a person can be detained for 24 days without a judicial warrant of arrest (Sec. 29) in violation of our Constitution.
2. It has expanded the meaning of terrorism that now could include any form of advocacy, protest and dissent, among others, if the authorities will interpret their intent as to “cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety” (Sec. 4).
3. It has the same punishment of life imprisonment for intent and commission of the act regardless of the stage of execution (Secs. 4 and 6).
4. The burden of proof of innocence is on the one accused. This goes against the basic principle that one is innocent until one is proven guilty. In this case one is guilty until one proves himself/herself innocent.

It is clear to us that the Anti-Terrorism Bill is not targeting the real terrorists but dissenters, political opposition, critics, activists, etc. Democracy essentially includes dissent and critique. To make this unlawful is to kill democracy.

This Bill, if enacted into law, will not put an end to real terrorism. In fact, terrorism defined as causing fear and panic, will in fact be the one that will sow fear and widespread panic and therefore will give rise to another kind of terrorism: STATE TERRORISM.

We call upon those who wish to preserve what ever democracy we still have in the Philippines to express their dissent against the passage of this bill into law and support the June 12 protests.

Signed:

Sr. Adelaida Ygrubay, O.S.B.
Prioress

Sr. M. Christine Pinto, O.S.B
President