By Rizal Obanil
The Political Science Department of De La Salle University (DLSU) issued a statement urging President Duterte to veto the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill.
“We, the faculty members of the Political Science Department of De La Salle University, recognize the need for the state to legislate and improve its capacity to protect Filipinos against domestic and international terrorism. We also understand the frustrations encountered by the security and public safety sectors in the treatment of covert versus overt acts as experienced during the violent extremist attacks of Marawi and Zamboanga, which evidently triggered a proposed replacement of the 2007 Human Security Act,” part of the statement posted on DLSU’s official page on Wednesday read.
“Our review of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA-2020), however, leads us to the belief that the President should veto the current version of the Anti-Terrorism for reasons elaborated hereunder,” it further read.
The statement from the DLSU PolSci Department pointed out that even if the bill does not “include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work… other similar exercises of civil and political rights” they believe that Section 4 of the bill “can be obscured with the latter potentially being severely penalized.”
“The broad definition of terrorism under the proposed law therefore blurs the line between being an active citizen and being an enemy of the state,” part of the statement also said.
Aside from Sec. 4, the group also pointed out Sec. 29 of ATA-2020 which they believe “violates the due process of the law and even goes beyond court rules on warrantless arrest.”
Several other schools and groups have already issued their own statements expressing strong opposition to the bill.