Carpio to youth leaders: 'Oppose gov't moves to curtail freedom'

Published August 26, 2021, 2:57 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio told the youth to oppose “any attempt by the government to curtail our freedom,” pointing particularly to the controversial Anti-Terror Law that the Duterte administration allegedly uses to intimidate critics and activists.

Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice and 1Sambayan convenor Antonio Carpio (JOHN JEROME GANZON / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Every citizen must oppose every time the government rises to encroaching individual freedoms, we must oppose and that’s the only assurance because if we don’t do that then we will lose all our freedoms,” he said during the launch of the 1Sambayan chapter of the De La Salle University and the Ateneo de Manila University.

Carpio is one of the lead convenors of opposition coalition 1Sambayan, which hopes to unify the opposition and come up with a list of candidates who will face the administration’s bet in next year’s polls.

“Because if we don’t oppose then you lose and you lose and you lose until it becomes now part of the normal state of things where you lost your civil liberties,” he told the participants in the virtual forum.

As one of the individuals who filed a case against the Anti-Terror Law before the Supreme Court, Carpio said the legislation, which allows the detention of “suspects” for 14 days without charge, “is a very bad law.”

READ: Two retired SC justices, others file 11th petition vs. anti-terrorism law

The Duterte administration said they need the law to combat insurgencies, claiming that it safeguards freedoms. Human rights activists and Constitutional framers think otherwise.

They said the law has a very broad definition of terrorism, which includes engaging in acts intended to endanger a person’s life,” intended to “damage public property” or “interfere with critical infrastructure.”

Inciting others through “speeches, writings, proclamations, emblems, banners, and other representations tending to the same end” could carry a punishment of 12 years in prison,” the law said.

“So, whenever there is a law that—because there is always a tension between the citizenry and government—the government thinks that they have to curtail the freedom to be more effcient, to develop the economy, to ensure peace and order—but then that means there is a curtailment of freedom,” Carpio said.

But “from the point of citizenry what the government is doing is excessive already,” he added.

READ: Palace: Dissent against admin not curtailed; Duterte urges people to speak up

There’s a “constant struggle” between the government and the citizenry, the 1Sambayan convenor noted.

However, Carpio said that it is the people’s duty “to find a middle ground, a reasonable ground and so in the case of the Anti-Terror Law I think it is excessive already.”