By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The De La Salle Brothers and Postulants of the Philippines on Friday held their own “mañanita” protest to call for the junking of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
The brothers and postulants each held a letter printed on black paper, spelling out the words “Junk terror bill now.”
This was done in front of the De La Salle University (DLSU) building along Taft Avenue in Manila, where a sign bearing the message “Defend democracy. #JunkTerrorBillNow” is hung.
Earlier, the De La Salle Brothers and Philippine Jesuits issued a statement expressing their opposition to the Anti-Terrrorism Bill and urging President Duterte to veto it.
Some of the university’s professors from the Political Science Department and College of Law also released statements echoing the De La Salle Brothers’ stance.
Thousands of members of progressive groups on Friday led a “grand mañanita” in the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD), coinciding with the celebration of the 122nd year of Philippine independence.
“Mañanita” protests were also staged at Naga in Camarines Sur, Baguio, and Dumaguete, among other areas. The “mañanita” type of protest stemmed from a birthday party held by police officers for Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, where social distancing and community quarantine protocols were violated. Sinas, and other officials, defended himself by saying that the event was a “mañanita,” and not a party.
According to House Bill No. 6875 or the Anti-Terrorism Bill, terrorism is commited when one “engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, or endangers a person’s life,” or “causes extensive damage to public property,” to “create an atmosphere or spread a message of fear,” among other definitions.
The bill states that those who will be suspected of being involved in “terrorist activities” can be arrested without a warrant and can be held under custody without charge for up to 24 days. Those convicted face life imprisonment without parole.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill also considers inciting others to commit terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end” a crime.
Those convicted of this offense would face up to 12 years in prison. Furthermore, the provision stating that law enforcers who wrongfully detain suspects will have to pay P500,000 for every day of wrongful detention, was removed from the bill.
The bill has been transmitted to Malacañang and is now awaiting Duterte’s signature.