Press Release
October 9, 2006


As members of the legitimate opposition in the Senate, we strongly declare our principled stand against the Anti-Terrorism Bill.

We strongly condemn all efforts and attempts to ram this bill before the Senate without the benefit of full and exhaustive deliberation of its actual merits.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill (Senate Bill no.2137) in its present form legislates martial law. We cannot and shall not allow this to happen to our people. Not under our watch, Mrs. Arroyo!

In the hands of a repressive regime, such as that of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the anti-terrorism bill will create a shadow criminal justice system that, in turn will be used as an instrument of a greater terror perpetrated by people in power against their critics and political opponents.

This bill cannot guarantee the defeat of terrorism or even its deterrence. The bill contains sweeping and vague provisions that undermine among other things the rights to freedom of expression and association, the liberty of movement, the prohibition against arbitrary detention, and the rights to the presumption of innocence and fair trial.

We are against the use of violence against civilians. But national security should not be used as an excuse to stifle the freedoms and the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We agree with the position made by Amnesty International that, security and human rights are not alternatives; they go hand in hand. Respect for human rights is the route to security, not an obstacle to it. The route to security is through respect for human rights, not their violations. As the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stressed: "While we certainly need vigilance to prevent acts of terrorism... it will be self-defeating if we sacrifice other key priorities -- such as human rights -- in the process."

We now call on all freedom loving Filipinos to take a principled stand against the Anti-Terror Bill. Huwag po nating payagan na bumalik tayo sa kadiliman at takot na dinala ng martial law. Panahon na upang tumindig at lumaban!

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