Philippines: Use of terror law for suppression, now reaching new levels of impunity and absurdity
Fight Back news service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Marcos regime and its military and police forces must be roundly condemned for the increasingly malevolent use of the deceitfully named Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) in their heightened campaign of suppression against various democratic forces, critics, and political opponents.
Over the past few weeks, human rights defenders and members of cause-oriented organizations have been “designated” as “terrorists” by the Anti-Terrorism Council or charged in court for “terrorism” in a patently arbitrary manner, without due process and in utter violation of broadly accepted standards of judicial processes.
The ATL is now being used as a tool for suppression with impunity. The most recent victim of the draconian ATL is Hailey Pecayo, a 19-year old human rights worker, who earned the ire of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for having actively exposed the role of the military for the killing of a nine-year old child in Batangas last year. She is now being charged by the AFP under the ATL, together with other members of their human rights group.
Before Pecayo, at least six others, including Windel Bolinget and three other members of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), were tagged as “terrorists” by the ATC. In a much earlier resolution, Dr. Natividad Castro, a medical doctor working for the Karapatan Alliance in Mindanao, was similarly tagged by the ATC. It is particularly noteworthy that the ATC resolutions against Bolinget and Castro both came after courts dismissed false charges filed by the AFP linking them to armed actions of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The use of the ATL as a tool of suppression has now reached absurd and brazen levels with the ATC “designating” Congressman Arnolfo Teves and 12 others accused of perpetrating the March 4 killing of former Negros Oriental Governor Noel Degamo. Marcos officials have resorted to using the ATL against Teves after failing to build up a court case him. Aiming the ATL against Teves also serves as warning of the extent that Marcos will use the law for his purposes.
The CPP denounces the use of the ATL as a weapon of political suppression. The Party also expresses its continuing protest against the “terrorist designation” of the CPP, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front, of its leaders and representatives, and others being linked to the revolutionary cause.
Despite the September 21, 2022 ruling of the Manila Trial Court dismissing the petition filed by the government to declare the CPP and NPA as “terrorists” under the Human Security Act (the former name of the ATL), the Marcos regime and its agents insist on pinning the “terrorist” tag as part of its systematic campaign against all patriotic and democratic forces.
In light of the heightened attacks against the broad democratic sectors using the ATL, the Filipino people’s demand for the abrogation of the draconian law has become even more urgent. All democracy-loving people must make a stand and lend their voice to the struggle to defend the people’s rights and freedoms against state repression.
The Party supports the Filipino people’s clamor to end the so-called “war on terror” which, in fact, is a camouflage for unbounded state terrorism. This fascist framework has long been abused by the Philippine ruling class state, in order to justify the systematic erosion of the people’s civil and political rights.
The military and security establishment has used the “war on terror” to claim extraordinary powers to assert domination over society, take control of the functions of civilian agencies of government and carry out any and all acts of state suppression with gross impunity.