Ganito kung ituring ng Malakanyang ang pangamba ng publiko na gagamitin ang anti-terrorism bill para sa red-tagging sa oposisyon at progressive groups.

Binigyang diin ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque na hindi tama para sa mga kritiko na kagyat na magbigay ng konklusyon sa “judicial declaration” para sa isang grupo na maikunsidera bilang communist organization.

“Red-tagging by just referring you as a communist group will not have any legal effect unless a court has declared you to be a terrorist organization,” ayon kay Sec. Roque.

Sa kabila na ang korte ay maaaring ideklara ang mga communist organization, sinabi ni Sec. Roque na “there’s some kind of an impossibility” dahil hindi naman malinaw kung saan ipapadala ang summons.

“I guess it’s an unfounded fear because lawyers, at least those who know how the rules of court operate, know that even if we want to give the courts the power to declare a terrorist organization, there will be some difficulty particularly in acquiring jurisdiction over the persons of that alleged terrorist organization,” aniya pa rin.

Sa kabilang dako, binasura naman ni Sec. Roque, ang naging pahayag ni Atty. Chel Diokno, chairman ng Free Legal Assistance Group, na pinapayagan ng batas ang warrantless arrests base sa hinala lamang.

“No. Don’t think the law can amend the rules of court which is the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts. That’s in the Constitution as well. I think we have to study the basics of constitutional law before we conclude. We need to distinguish between statements that politicians would make against the administration from the actual facts,” ayon kay Sec. Roque.

At kung mayroon aniyang kuwestiyon sa constitutionality ng batas ay maaari siyang hamunin ng mga kritiko sa korte.

Minaliit naman nito ang pagsisikap ng oposisyon na hamunin ang Duterte administration sa korte.

“Look at the track record of these people challenging acts done by the Duterte administration, zero. When I was at my prime, my peak, in challenging acts of other administrations, I went to court and got the judgments that I wanted. So we should focus on actually revisiting how to actually go about constitutional litigation if we feel that there are really unconstitutional provisions in the law,” aniya pa rin.

Binawasan naman ng Malakanyang ang pangamba ng publiko na ang ‘act of terrorism’ ay madedetermina ng kapulisan.

“That’s not accurate. In fact, I argued the case of David vs. Arroyo where we partially were successful in declaring an act of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as being unconstitutional because there was no definition of terrorism,” anito.

Tinukoy ni Sec. Roque ang warrantless arrest at detention ng columnist na si Randy David at Ronald Llamas, at ang warrantless search ng Daily Tribune’s premises kung saan ang depinisyon ng terorismo ay naiwan sa law enforcement authorities.

“It is not accurate anymore that it is the police who will define. There’s sufficient definition now given in the statute as well as in the UN community itself because it has been an issue that the UN system grappled with for many, many years. And there’s now at least a compromise that if we can’t define it with precision then we know the effects that the states have the right to curtail,” ang pahayag ni Sec. Roque.

Sa kabila ng kakulangan sa depinisyon ng terorismo, sinabi ni Sec. Roque na ‘there is at least a consensus on what is the effect of terrorism that states can curtail and this is to instill fear or terror in the minds of the general public through overt acts by terrorists or terrorist groups.’ CHRISTIAN DALE


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