Sunday, October 09, 2005

NR1007:Rep. Beltran urges senators to reconsider stand on ATB

From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release October 7, 2005

Rep. Beltran urges senators to reconsider their stand on anti-terror bill

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today urged senators to change their minds and refuse to support the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s campaign for an anti-terrorism bill. Beltran said that there can never be sufficient or credible guarantees that the incumbent administration will not wield the anti-terror bill against it’s political opponents and justify a wide-scale crackdown against all
militant and progressive people’s organizations and their allies by citing the overbroad provisions of the anti-terror bill.

“A rabid Arroyo ally, senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has already stated that the ant-terror bill should be used against all of Malacanang’s opponents – particularly those who hold protests and demonstrations calling for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo on the grounds of corruption and electoral fraud,” he said. “It is precisely pronouncements from the likes of Sen. Santiago and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales that convince opponents of the anti-terror bill that Malacanang will use the latter to launch full-scale physical attacks against the political opposition.

Beltran said that the spate of killings of political activists is already bloody proof that that the administration is on a murderous rampage against its opponents. “The government and its armed institutions – mainly the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)- have seen no need for an anti-terror bill to carry out is campaign of political repression and terrorism. Without doubt, with an anti-terror measure the most mercenary elements of the PNP and the AFP will be even more emboldened to violate the Filipino people’s civil, political and human rights.”

“Legitimate protest actions, peaceful gatherings and other democratic forms of collective or individual actions will be outlawed, especially if they aim to demand positive response from the government or to denounce it for the various anti-poor, anti-people policies it implements,” he said. ‘Even factory strikes, pickets in front of government agencies and other civilian offices will also be banned. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s motives are clearly to silence its opponents and thus project a false image that stability has been regained.”

In the meanwhile, the veteran labor leader turned legislator said that the government’s calibrated preemptive response policy against rallies be immediately scrapped as it was a vicious and unconstitutional curtailment of the freedom of assembly and expression. He also said that Malacanang’s insistence on Executive Order 464 betrays its desperation to keep more scandals and reports of its relentless corruption from leaking out. “A government that would impose a gag order on its staff and officials is clearly a government with a lot of dirty secrets,” he concluded.#


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