Press Release
March 16, 2007

Recto on the proposal to outlaw communism

In a Manila press forum Thursday evening, Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he favors communism to be outlawed again, as he accused leftists of taking advantage of the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law to topple government.

"If I had my way I would really go for the declaration of outlawing the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines]," Esperon told a forum of the Manila Overseas Press Club.

Sought for reaction, Senator Ralph Recto issued the following statement:

You cannot outlaw an idea. What you can, however, illegalize are criminal acts used in pursuit of that idea.

Mere espousal of communism should not be deemed an illegal act . No law is breached in ones peaceful advocacy of any ideology, communism included.

But if violent means are employed in advocating that ideology then the state has the right to protect itself and see to it that citizens are not harmed and public order is maintained.

The Bill of Rights guarantees Marxist worship but it does not provide refuge to people who resort to terror, whether in or out of government, in enforcing their ideals on others.

Like in most nations, communism should be allowed to compete peacefully here, in the free market of ideas.

In fact, the government should guarantee communist participation in the democratic political process, provided there is renunciation of violence.

The problem with any blanket outlawing of communism is that it might sideswipe militants who may share beliefs with armed rebels but do not employ nor endorse their means.

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