Monday, February 21, 2005

NR0221: Natl ID system and ATB

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release February 21, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

National ID system, Anti-Terror Bill to exacerbate HR violations as it empower the police and military against the civilian populace

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that under different political and economic circumstances, he would support the establishment of a national ID system. "The arguments regarding heightened efficiency are believable and valid; but given the political and economic motives of the administration pushing the national ID system, it would be a crime against the Filipino people to support the proposal. The government wants a more efficient system of defeating and rounding up its political opponents, particularly those who denounce the administration's economic policies and political compromises that attack the welfare of the poor and working people," he said.

Beltran said that it's almost impossible not to question the motives of the government at this juncture. He said that the ID system, if passed, would effectively centralize all vital information about an individual in a dossier that could be used against him.

"The administration should focus on job creation, genuine land distribution and bringing down water and electricity rates and gasoline prices. There's serious economic chaos going on, and it's not going to be solved by the national ID system. As for the scourge of terrorism, the administration keeps hyping it to serve its own purposes. It's precisely the administration's refusal to heed the demands of the marginalized sectors and religious sections of society for humane and humanitarian economic and political reforms that's worsening the country's crisis. The roots of terrorism is only deeply lodged within the administration's allegiances to foreign powers and their agenda in the country."

Meanwhile, Beltran also expressed strong opposition against plans to legislate an anti-terrorism law. He said that the proposed bill states that a person can also be arrested without warrant and detained for more than 30 days. "It's clear that this would be a violation of a person's right to due process, the right to defend oneself and the right to know the nature and cause of his accusation. The anti-terror bill also violates the people's right to self organization because it punishes mere membership in what the government calls "outlawed" organizations. Applying these standards would crucify a person: anyone may be found "guilty by association." This violates the judicial system's presumption of innocence toward a suspect.

"As for the bill's provision on the installation and use of modern surveillance equipment encroaches on a person's privacy and violates the right to free communication.

Beltran said that the passage of the anti-terror bill will legalize the culture of impunity as a privilege given to the men in uniform, namely members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He said the ATB is an added instrument for infringing on the people's rights. "By making it into a law, it will leave the main perpetrators of human rights violations unpunished. The PNP and the AFP s till hold the highest record of HR violations. It is their rights the ATB wants to protect," he said.

Finally, Beltran said that the ATB is unnecessary because there are enough existing laws that could be used to arrest or penalize suspected criminals. "There are existing rules on criminal procedure and the state is already empowered to implement these. At this point in the country's political and economic development, its clear that an anti-terror bill would only be used against the people, while protecting those in authority," he said. #


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