Bishops to faithful: Monitor SC oral arguments on Anti-Terror Law

Published February 1, 2021, 9:09 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

A Catholic prelate has urged the public to monitor the oral arguments at the Supreme Court on the Anti-Terror Law on Tuesday, February 2.

Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said it is important for everyone to follow the proceedings as such a law will have an impact on the country’s democracy.

Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo

“We should monitor SC oral arguments, as far as I am concerned!” he said in an interview Monday.

“This Anti-Terror Law is harmful to our democracy! The President will become a dictator if this law takes effect!” added Bastes.

Archdiocese of Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo also issued the same appeal.

“The public should monitor the SC so they know what is happening and they can react,” said the prelate, who is also the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Laity.

Meanwhile, the National Clergy Discernment Group (NCDG), a group of Catholic priests and religious, appealed to the members of the SC to declare the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law.

The group said terrorism and acts of terror do not exist as a national reality in the Philippines, adding that if there are identified terrorists doing acts of terror, these could only be a limited one confined to some small areas in Mindanao.  

The inconveniences created by advocacies and protest actions in various forms, NCDG said, could always be construed as acts intended to cause death, damage to public facility, interference with critical infrastructure, even with the use of weapons and inducing calamities.  

“Republic Act 11479 legitimizes the terror experienced by the people at the hand of the State, its Security Forces and the Death Squads.  Pointing at the Communist Party of the Philippines – the New People’s Army – the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as terrorist enemies of the State, the military and police have lumped all legal, non-combatant and unarmed members of the National Democratic Movement as conspirators with the CPP-NPA-NDFP that seek the overthrow of the State,” said the group.

“Soon all types of opposition, critical thinking and movement for change will be classified as Terrorism and Terrorist Acts,” NCDG added.

“And so today, we ask you to invoke the Wisdom of History. …Please, declare R.A. 11479, The Anti-Terror Act of 2020 unconstitutional. Now,” the group said.