SC Ruling on Terror Law may Embolden Rights Violators (PR)

News Release
October 11, 2010

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today expressed disappointment over a Supreme Court’s dismissal of several petitions assailing the 2007 Human Security Act. The group warned that the SC decision may embolden human rights violators.

The SC dismissed the six petitions against the HSA, including the petition filed by Bayan, because the petitioners had not established that they suffered any injury because of the passage of the law.

“It is unfortunate that the SC was waiting for an actual injury from the anti-terror law before it decided on the merits of the petition. The petitioners have been on the receiving end of many repressive policies of the previous regime, including illegal arrests, surveillance, torture and other abuses. The track record of repression against the petitioners was there. It was under this repressive context that the terror law was passed,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

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“The SC’s failure to rule on the merits of the petitions may embolden the human rights violators among the state security forces to carry out more abuses using the anti-terror law. We have seen both the deliberate acts of repression and the sheer incompetence of many state security forces,” Reyes added.

Bayan said that their apprehension over the anti-terror law has not changed even under the new administration of Benigno Aquino III.

“The political climate has not really changed dramatically. Repression still exists in many parts of the country. There have been 16 cases of extrajudicial killings, 2 enforced disappearances and at least 3 cases of illegal arrests under the new regime. Under this climate of impunity, the HSA will be a very dangerous tool for repression,” Reyes said.

Bayan assailed the anti-terror law for being too vague as well as for allowing illegal searches and seizures, in violation of the bill of rights.

“The SC decision will not be the end controversies concerning the HSA. We consult our lawyers regarding our legal options at the moment,” Reyes said.

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