Press Release
June 10, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 819:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Growing Pushback Against the Terror Bill

May pag-asa pa.

Ang lumalaking pagtutol ng mga Filipino laban sa tinatawag na "Terror Bill" ay ang tinig ng isang bansa na ngayon ay nagigising na sa pang-aabuso ng nasa kapangyarihan laban sa karaniwang taong nagpapahayag ng hinaing at saloobin patungkol sa ating gobyerno.

In an unprecedented show of unity, artists, social media influencers, and now athletes have joined our activists, human rights defenders and the academe in protesting against the Terror Bill.

Those of constitutional experts like former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and human rights lawyers Chel Diokno and Theodore Te are the more erudite and convincing voices on the legal professional fronts. While those of known showbiz and sports personalities are of equally persuasive force, listened to by the masses and ordinary folks.

No, the public is not being "disinformed" about the dangers of the Terror Bill. People are simply 'waking up.' A citizenry's renewed vigilance. Guarding against threats to civil liberties. Protecting our democracy. Standing up for our freedoms.

It shouldn't be hard to fathom why there's a growing pushback. In the past few weeks under the blanket of community quarantine, we have seen how the police force clamped down against the poor and the powerless while trying to call attention to their plight. They were forced to pay exorbitant bail or suffer extended periods in detention for their audacity to protest. All the while, those in power like NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas remain unpunished for violating quarantine rules.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights just recently released a report condemning "near-impunity" for the extrajudicial killings finding that our police officers are given verbal encouragement at the highest level of government which could be interpreted as giving them "permission to kill".

Hanggang ngayon, nananatiling pangarap lamang ang hustisya para sa libo-libong pinaslang sa pangalan ng "War on Drugs". How can the police give assurance that the same will not happen under the proposed Terror Bill? Nananaginip ba sila?

Did the main proponents of the bill, and Malacañang, misread or miscalculate the public pulse? Perhaps, they saw in the current crisis situation a "strategic" opportunity to push for such a draconian measure, thinking that people are too preoccupied and overburdened by COVID-related concerns and challenges; they are under too much mental, physical and economic duress to care about other issues, let alone to resist.

The proponents must think again, and rethink their hardline position. Congress should stop the enrolment of this Terror Bill and return it to the respective chambers for further evaluation.

If not, would it be too much of a wishful thinking to expect a presidential veto, at least as a face-saving political stunt? Who knows!?

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 819, here:


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