The impending implementation of the National ID System after a Supreme Court ruling upholding its constitutionality will be a major setback for civil liberties according Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr, one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court case.
“In a time when civil liberties are already bludgeoned by so many repressive measures, pushing through with the ID system is a dangerous proposition. The administration is not exactly a model of respect for human rights. It is not an exaggeration to say that the ID system can be abused under this government,” Bayan’s Reyes said.
Bayan disputed claims by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita that the ID system will only cover government employees.
“The ID system is a form of population control. Vital information is compiled for the purpose of closely monitoring and, when deemed necessary, placing restrictions on the movements, activities and transactions of individuals covered by the system. It will cover government employees today but there is nothing to prevent government from using the ID system on everyone,” Reyes said.
Reyes said that the ID system can in the future become a requisite for all transactions with government offices. “And since many people need to transact with government, they have no choice but to acquire the multi-purpose ID. They can be compelled in the future. The administration is just testing the waters now with this limited implementation,” Reyes warned.
Bayan agreed with the dissenting opinion of Justice Consuel Santiago that there are no assurances that abuses of the ID system will not happen. Bulatlat
Militants hit Gonzales for reducing charges vs. 3 U.S. Marines
The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) hit Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales for reducing the charges against three of the four U.S. Marines accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina in November last year.
In an interview with reporters in his office at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Gonzalez said he would have dismissed the cases against US Marine Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier if not for mob rule.
The DOJ stated the three U.S. Marines would only be charged as accessories to the rape case. Only Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith will remain as the principal suspect.
“Gonzales’ statement is tantamount to absolving Smith too,” Bayan chairperson Carol Araullo said. “Smith, the principal suspect, claims that he had consensual sex with the victim. If the three were not part of the conspiracy to commit rape, as DOJ believes, then they could say that they were just watching Smith and the victim having consensual sex. Gonzales is in effect weakening the case against the four U.S. Marines.”
In an interview over DZMM, Evelyn Ursua, lawyer of the victim, said there was a clear evidence of gang rape.
“The Subic rape case is not a mere rape case as Gonzales and even Ignacio Bunye would like the public to believe,” Araullo said. This case is a testimony to the loopholes of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This case is a testimony to the continuing subservience of the Philippine government to the U.S. government.”
“Secretary Gonzales is doing injustice not only to the 22-year old rape victim but to the Filipino people who have long been held captive by the U.S. government’s arrogance and oppression,” Araullo added.
Reacting to Ursua’s plan of elevating the case to the Office of the President, Araullo said, “It would be very interesting to know what Arroyo would say about the case. Her statement on this could be another political explosive.” (Bulatlat.com)