Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk
Days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law, Vice-President Leni Robredo has pushed for safeguards so that the controversial measure would not be abused, reports Rappler.
In her weekly radio show with co-host Ely Saludar, Robredo noted that she does not oppose the law itself, but wants assurance that there will be safeguards in implementing it.
Duterte signed the law, which became Republic Act No. 11479, on Friday.
“Iyong hinihingi natin, hindi na hindi magkaroon ng Anti-Terrorism Law; iyong hinihingi natin, kung magkakaroon, siguraduhin iyong safeguards, siguraduhin iyong safeguards sa pang-aabuso,” the Vice-President said.
(We’re not asking to have no Anti-Terrorism Law. What we’re asking is, if there would be one, ensure the safeguards against abuse.)
Robredo, a lawyer, argued that since the government was already “very powerful,” the people should be provided with more rights to match that power.
“Eh dito sa Anti-Terror Law, wala ito. Mayroong safeguards pero hindi enough. Ang parating dapat presumption, parating may tendency na mag-abuso.”
(The Anti-Terror Law has none of that. There are safeguards, but they aren’t enough. The presumption should always be, there is a tendency that it would be abused.)
While she acknowledged that there were many competent and professional officials in government and the law’s intention may be clean, she warned that there may also be “rogue implementors” around.
Critics of the Duterte administration have said the Anti-Terror law could be used to silence them. Robredo agreed, taking note that the administration has filed cases against its critics, including herself, using various laws.
Last year, government filed a complaint against Robredo and other opposition leaders, claiming they conspired to commit sedition based on the allegation of one Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy” that the Vice President et al had planned to oust Duterte.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) later cleared Robredo and Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros but not former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, another critic of Duterte.
“Pero finile nila. Kabahagi pa iyong SolGen. ‘Di ba? Iyong sa akin, Ka Ely—ito, Vice President na ako. Paano na lang iyong walang kalaban-laban, walang pambayad ng abogado na magdedepensa sa kanila? O iyong hindi naiintindihan kung ano iyong karapatan sa batas?” Robredo said.
(But they filed it. The SolGen took part in it, right? To me, Ka Ely– I am already the Vice President, what more those who cannot fight, those without money to pay for lawyers to defend them? Or those who do not understand what are their rights under the law?)