Thursday, January 12, 2006

NR0111: ATB means more arrests and killings, surveilance

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602.
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer
Cellphone number 09277967006, 931-6615
Email: Visit
News Release January 11, 2006. Wednesday

Activist solon’s grim prediction if Anti-Terror Bill is passed next week:
More mass arrests and killings of activists, citizen surveillance in 2006

Citing the alarms raised by a high-level delegation from the United Methodist Church investigating the state of human rights in the Philippines this week, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran warned of more human rights violations to happen if the Anti-Terror Bill sees passage at a third reading as the House of Representatives resumes its sessions on January 16.

United Methodist Church leaders from Europe, Africa, and Russia, led by Bishop John Hopkins of Cleveland, Ohio, wrapped up a three-day fact-finding mission on the spate of around 150 extrajudicial killings and harassment in the Philippines last January 9. The foreign clergy, who represent 11 million church members worldwide, condemned the spate of attacks on journalists, church workers and human rights activists. They called on the government to conduct an "immediate and impartial investigation of all recent extrajudicial executions" and sought from President Macapagal-Arroyo a "commitment not to impose martial rule or other limitations on civil liberties or human rights."

“Pres. Arroyo has obviously contradicted this appeal by her almost-rabid hurry to have the House Bill # 4839 or the Anti-Terror Bill passed into law by the first quarter of this year. The provisions in the Anti-Terror Bill obviously smack of violations against human rights and civil liberties, such as surveillance and seizure of personal property,” the militant solon and Martial Law survivor said.

“Because the vague and loose definitions of the term ‘terrorism’ have stayed, almost anyone can be dangerously branded by the government as a ‘terrorist’, whether by malicious imputation, by association, or by coincidence. Activists, clergy, and media can be falsely accused of ‘inciting to terrorism’, for example,” Beltran continued.

“Worse, there is no guarantee that extra-judicial killings of activists, journalists, clergy, lawyers, and human rights defenders will cease under the Arroyo administration. The ATB might even pave the way for more rub-outs and brazen arrests and police actions that might result in the deaths of citizens,” he warned.

“The blatant disregard for human rights is further underscored in the fact that the proposed Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to be created by the Office of the President, has not a even single human rights agency involved as participating agencies to the ATC,” Beltran also noted.

“Even the inclusion of human rights agencies in the ATC will not guarantee the protection of civil liberties, since the ATB’s provisions are based wholly on an anti-democratic premise,” Beltran added.###


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