Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On anti-terror law: Militants hail CBCP’s call for a review anti-terror law

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - (Ben Balce / July 11)A MILITANT group yesterday welcomed the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called for a review of the Human Security Act of 2007, or the anti-terrorism law, citing apprehension among lawyers and other sectors.

The militant group and the CBCP even condemned the soon-to-be-implemented Act as “even worse than PP1017, CPR and EO464.”

“We welcome the timely objection of the CBCP to the HSA implementation on July 15,” said Karapatan regional head Beberly Musni.

The CBCP on Monday in a statement released after its 95th plenary assembly, the bishops expressed concern over the morality dimension of the law which is set for implementation on July 15.

“We hope the other faiths and sectors will follow suit,” said Musni adding people should expressed on the widest and strongest condemnation to the HSA.

Musni said, like the opposition of the multi-sectoral on Charter Change will compel the GMA regime to abandon the HSA.

“This is like impact on the peoples’ freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and in right to liberty and privacy,” she said.

Musni, a human rights lawyer-activist, said her groups Gabriela and other militant organizations are now planning to join as they are now contemplating big rally in Cagayan de Oro.

Late last year, the Supreme Court dealt President Arroyo three slaps by declaring EO464, CPR policy and PP1017 as partly unconstitutional, unconstitutional and partly unconstitutional.

“Our outrage over the attempted charter change should be again being expressed on the HSA,” said Musni.

Earlier, militants urged the CBCP to issue statements condemning the implementation of the said Anti-Terror law.

Musni even challenged Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro head Archbishop Antonio Ledesma to maintain supporting the CBCP’s statements as urging the Supreme Court to intervene on the legality of the HSA.

The bishops issued statements against the HSA, after they found out that the HSA is so controversial and considered highly sensitive issues said Musni.

The HSA is supposed to be implemented on July 15 but government is still fine-tuning its implementation. The law was signed by President Arroyo on March 15.

“The new law could be used to abuse the rights of government critics,” said Musni.

Musni claimed that it is ironic that instead of making the people feel secure, the law would most likely cause chaos and insecurity.

The Karapatan also yesterday called for the suspension of the implementation of said HSA.

"Since we, as pastors, have to look more into the morality of this law and make a pronouncement in that level,” said in a CBCP’s statement however, reiterated their pursuit for peace as well as condemnation of terrorist acts.

Yesterday, during peace summit here, National Defense secretary Norberto Gonzales maintained that the public has no reason to fear the HSA "if you are not planning anything illegal."

"The law is for the protection of human rights and not for its (human rights) violation," he said.

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Constantino Jaraula over DxIF Bombo Radio said the country needs the new law to address the threat of terrorism.

Jaraula said they would later to meet Arroyo with the Cabinet security cluster at Pryce Plaza Hotel to check on the preparations for the implementation of the new law.

The Cabinet meeting with Arroyo highlighted of the Summit, which is aimed at identifying the problems faced by stakeholders and formulating programs to improve the anti-terrorism campaign according to Gonzales.

Gonzales added that the government is now seriously considering recommending the proscription of the CPP and the NPA once the law becomes effective, noting the communist group has already been classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.


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