Photo courtesy of National Council of Churches in the Philippines

(Statement on the Anti-Terrorism Law)

The Anti-Terrorism Law is no less than a vicious act of power grab passed under the pretext of national security amid the coronavirus pandemic, presenting a stern peril against Philippine democracy. Replacing the Human Security Act of 2007. The new law criminalizes an abstruse new offense: the incitement of terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism.” Section 29 authorizes law enforcement to arrest and detain, without a warrant and for fourteen to twenty-four days, anyone suspected of any terrorism offense including those accused of incitement.

The recent wave of red-tagging, harassments and arrests of activists, human rights and peace defenders, the unilateral abrogation of the accord between the Department of National Defense and the University of the Philippines by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are seriously alarming manifestations of how President Rodrigo Duterte will make use of the Anti-Terrorism Law to stifle dissent and opposition to his rule. The government has increasingly made use of the process of red-tagging, to identify many human rights organizations as “fronts of CPP.” The consequences of red-tagging are dreadful. Some activists, human rights, peace and justice defenders who are red- tagged have either been subjected to arbitrary arrests or killings.

Yet, despite threats of arrest, thousands continued to demonstrate against the law calling for its scrapping. Over 30 petitions to junk the law have been filed in the Supreme Court by various groups including the churches.

On February 2, a group of people’s lawyers will face the magistrates in an oral argument. We unequivocally support and pray for the people’s lawyers as they carry out the awesome task of defending the will and protecting the fundamental rights of the Filipino people. God be on their side!

Anti-Terrorism Law supporters claim it does not pose any serious risks to public safety. But who decides who is inciting terror or creating a serious public safety risk? The Anti- Terrorism Council does. It is composed of eight members of Duterte’s cabinet and one other government agency head, the council can detain anyone for at least fourteen days without a warrant on the grounds that their proclamations or writings incited terrorism.

The Anti-Terrorism Law will be the greatest nightmare of the Filipinos should the Supreme Court of the Philippines deem it statutory despite its many constitutional deficiencies. As such we call on the Supreme Court magistrates not to allow themselves to be cloaked by the claws of those in political power. The Scriptures has so vividly and resoundingly declared through the prophet Isaiah 10: 1 “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees” Psalm 94: 20 asks “Can a corrupt throne be Your ally–one devising mischief by decree?”

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines joins the Filipino people in the resounding cry to repeal and JUNK THE ANTI-TERROR LAW! +

February 1, 2021

Bishop Melzar D. Labuntog

General Secretary

Bishop Joseph G. Agpaoa
North Luzon Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Emergencio D. Padillo
Middle Luzon Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Joel E. Tendero
South Luzon Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Jerome C. Baris
East Visayas Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Feliciana P. Tenchavez
West Visayas Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Ligaya F. San Francisco
Northwest Mindanao Jurisdictional Area

Bishop Hamuel G. Tequis
Southeast Mindanao Jurisdictional Area

Bishops Emeritus:
Bishop Arturo R. Asi
Bishop Jezer E. Bertoldo

Bishop Isaias L. Bingtan
Bishop Erme R. Camba
Bishop Ebenezer C. Camino
Bishop Constante D. Claro
Bishop Gabriel A. Garol
Bishop Hilario M. Gomez, Jr.
Bishop Marino I. Inong
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza
Bishop Roel P. Mendoza
Bishop Jaime R. Moriles

Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua
Bishop Dulce Pia-Rose
Bishop Elorde M. Sambat

Bishop Anacleto G. Serafica
Bishop Jessie S. Suarez
Bishop Rizalino Q. Taganas
Bishop Modesto D. Villasanta

Please click this link for the downloadable file, ​Woe to those who make unjust laws, and issue oppressive decrees

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