Groups caution against railroading of repressive bills

(BULATLAT FILE PHOTO) Indignation rally protests the SC decision to ous Chief Justice Sereno. (Photo by Carlo Manalansan / Bulatlat)

If these policies are enacted, Elago said, it would “only legitimize the systemic attacks the state has undertaken against those critical of its administration.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Following the passage of ROTC bill on third reading, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago warned of more railroading of bills prioritized by the Duterte administration as there are only three weeks more before the break on June 7.

Aside from institutionalizing mandatory ROTC in senior high school, Congress will also discuss the lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility and the amendments to the Human Security Act.

“Several of these legislations were immediately passed on second reading before session was suspended last February. Without any proper debate or discussion on the effects of these policies to the youth and people, this government rushed these policies to put them in immediate queue once session resumes” said Elago.

If these policies are enacted, Elago said, it would “only legitimize the systemic attacks the state has undertaken against those critical of its administration.”

“Numerous campaigns led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were launched to create false hysteria within universities by resorting to the red-tagging of nationalist and progressive groups falsely accused as recruiters and members of the New Peoples’ Army,” Elago said.

Human rights group Karapatan also expressed concern on the possible railroading of what they described as “draconian measures” of the administration. Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that with the questionable result of the midterm polls they “already foresee a Senate and a House of Representatives dominated by allies of President Duterte who will take on his dangerous legislative agenda.”

“Recent statements of Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto indicate that the administration is indeed hellbent on passing proposed policies that will hasten the constriction of whatever is left of the so-called democratic space in the country,” Palabay said.

Karapatan is opposing amendments to the HSA saying that it only enables the “wholesale violation of people’s civil liberties and political rights, including the right to freedom of expression and due process.”

Read: Proposed amendments to Human Security Act and Duterte’s state terror

Other amendments to the HSA also include the denial of due process to individuals and groups in the proscription process and in the course of conducting surveillance, and giving unchecked powers to State authorities to arbitrarily arrest and legally detain persons for 14 days, making them vulnerable to all forms of rights violations.

Also under the amended HSA, Palabay said, the “provisions to exact accountability from state forces, such as the P500,000 per day penalty to be paid by authorities for individuals later acquitted, have also been surreptitiously removed.”

Palabay said “these acts and the proposed amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution are the reasons why Duterte and his allies have worked for a new Senate that will rubber-stamp its anti-people policies.”

“We should continue to oppose these forms of suppression on people’s rights, as well as efforts of Duterte and his ilk to establish a full-blown dictatorship,” she added. (http://bulatlat.com)

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