What’s wrong with the terrorism bill? Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan, who voted against the measure, warn of possible abuse.
Pangilinan says the definition of terrorism is "vague.” Common crimes can be framed by erring law enforcers as terrorism. He points to the “arrest-and-detain-now, produce-or-invent-evidence-later” practice of the police.
That's not all. The bill also extends the number of days a suspect can be held without a warrant of arrest – from 3 days under the current set-up to a whopping 14 days.
Imagine if it were you who got arrested. That would theoretically give your torturers more time to rape you, put slivers of bamboo between your fingernails, and give you the waterboarding treatment. Meantime, lawyers and parents looking for you will not be able to gain access to you for almost half a month. (READ: Finding Sherlyn Cadapan)
Make no mistake, this will not only impact the so-called extremists, the communists or the radicals. The bill also allows the police and military to conduct 60-day surveillance on suspected terrorists, compelling telephone companies to disclose calls and messages.
That could be used against anyone who pisses off the powers that be. It could be used against Carlo Katigbak and Maria Ressa. It could be used against smart-mouthed students, outspoken priests, and activist-farmers. It could be used against you.
Both Hontiveros and Pangilinan say there are enough laws to go after terrorists and safeguard against terrorism.
In the world we live in now where red-tagging is rampant and corrupt law enforcers kill 17-year-old kids like Kian delos Santos in the name of “nanlaban” (resisting arrest) – who will be the next “terrorists”? Make no mistake – that could be us.
While the terrorism threat is real, laws that empower dishonest, unprofessional, and IQ-challenged policemen, and give these petty gunslingers super powers are the bigger threats.
The Terrorism Bill cannot give us a “strong legal structure that deals with terrorism to exact accountability, liability and responsibility” – not within the framework of our broken legal system.