The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has condemned the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law, saying it is a travesty against God’s will.
“It is a travesty against God’s will as it gives the government, or even just a few persons in the Anti-terrorism Council, the absolute power that determines what course people’s lives will take by putting forward a very vague definition of terrorism,” the group said in a statement Saturday, July 3.
By so doing, the NCCP said, the government has usurped the functions that rightfully belong to God.
“By playing God, the State commits the highest form of sacrilege. It is an affront to God’s gift of human dignity and a threat to all people of goodwill,” read their statement.
The NCCP said President Duterte’s signing of it into a law, also showed that he does not listen to the legitimate cries of the people, who appealed for him to veto the Bill.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) also deplored Duterte’s “brazen disregard” of the public appeal to defer the signing of the measure until thorough discussion has been done.
“The profound lack of consideration and sensitivity to the more pressing needs of the country by our government is appalling and utterly alarming,” NASSA said in a statement.
“Thus we will continue to be vigilant of the government’s actions, denounce any form of human rights violation, state repression, and impunity in cracking down on our democratic exercise,” it said.
Several church groups earlier questioned the “broad” definition of terrorism in the law, warning it could be misused against critics and other vulnerable population.
Human rights advocates also raised concerns with provisions allowing warrantless detention and wiretapping of suspects.
On Friday, President Duterte signed into law the Anti-Terrorism Act that grants authorities even more pressing power.