An interview with Atty. Edre Olalia
The anti-terrorism law is draconian, anti-people, and is very dangerous. Another fundamental point is, it does not cover the acts of terrorism of the State itself which is the worst kind of terrorism.
BY DR. RAINER WERNING
THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 27, August 12-18, 2007
Dr. Rainer Werning (RW), lecturer at the Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung of Bad Honef, Germany, interviewed Filipino lawyer Edre Olalia, on the side of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) second session on the Philippines, March 21-25 this year, at The Hague, The Netherlands. Olalia is the President of the International Association of the People’s Lawyers (IAPL) and the international officer of the Council for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL). He is also a member of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) that gives pro-bono counseling to clients from the marginalized sectors in Philippine society. Olalia was in The Hague, The Netherlands as one of the prosecutors of the PPT session on behalf of the plaintiffs of the Filipino people under Hustisya, Desaparecidos, Selda and Bayan.
Dr. Werning recently held a series of lectures about the European legacy in the Philippines at the Ateneo de Manila University, German Club, and University of San Carlos (Cebu). His interview with lawyer Olalia covered President Arroyo’s legal powers, the Human Security Act, and the PPT session on the Philippines.
Excerpts of his interview with Atty. Olalia:
Rainer(R): What steps were taken by the Arroyo administration on the legal front to consolidate itself in power?
Olalia (O): The legal infrastructures that would make Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA) consolidate her power as well as perpetuate herself in power are already in place. These include laws, jurisprudence and executive orders that date back to the regimes of Marcos to Cory Aquino and which the GMA administration used to consolidate its power and the further oppression of the rights of the people.
R: Can you elaborate on which laws or presidential decrees (PDs)?
O: There are several of them. One is this jurisprudence that dates back to 1985. In the Ilagan vs Enrile… Ilagan was a human rights lawyer when he was arrested in 1985 by elements of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police in Davao City, while Enrile (now Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile) was then the Defense Secretary of Marcos. It was a Habeas Corpus petition, but unfortunately the Supreme Court sustained the doctrine that even if the arrest or detention at the first instance is illegal such as there is no warrant of arrest or there is no probable cause, the illegality of the arrest is cured by the filing of an information or charge. By the simple expedient of filing an information…”recharge”, we call it … that makes the remedy of the Habeas Corpus inutile or useless. That is one jurisprudence that remains in effect.
There are many others but, for now, the GMA regime has made several issuances that undermine human rights and at the same time serve to consolidate her power. If you repress the rights of the people, if you keep them silent, then your power becomes stronger. These repressive issuances include the calibrated pre-emptive response or CPR; Executive Order 464; Presidential Proclamation 1017; and, the Human Security Act or the anti-terrorism law.