On the occasion of the 128th-year anniversary of the Katipunan that fought for our rights, freedom and independence from abuse and exploitation, we in the Movement Against the Anti-Terrorism Act (MATA) express our outrage over President Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to take seriously his oath of office to preserve and defend the Constitution. Four days ago, his pen approved a clear and blatant unconstitutional act of Congress.
The President initiated or allowed himself to be seduced by the indecent proposal of more power to his executive office by affixing his signature to the Anti-Terrorism Act. This act will destroy the constitutional principle of separation of powers, which most likely will lead to more abuses of power.
Ayudang sapat sa mamamayan ang kinakailangan ng sambayanan, hindi diktadura ninuman!
Our people did and will continue to march on the streets and to the Supreme Court to remind the president and Congress that the fundamental law is supreme over the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The President and Congress have forgotten that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land to which all laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials, must accord respect.
The President was a former prosecutor and not ignorant that only a judge can issue a warrant of arrest under the 1987 Constitution (Salazar vs Achacoso). He has forgotten his constitutional law in law school. He failed to use his veto pen! He lost his golden moment in history — a chance to heal our land and inspire our people to unite!
He missed to see that, among others, Section 9 (inciting to commit terrorism) is contrary to our freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights of the Constitution; while sections 29 (detention without judicial warrant) runs afoul of the principles of separation of powers and infringes the right of citizens “to be secure in their persons” against unreasonable arrest “for whatever nature and for any purpose” (Sec 2 ibid).
With all women and men of goodwill, we condemn terrorism in all its forms, whether state-sponsored or initiated by outlaws or non-state entities.
We believe, however, that the principal war should be waged against poverty and social exclusion. We therefore demand that the Duterte administration prioritize a robust economic stimulus package that would address the lack of aid for workers – formal and informal – and massive unemployment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new anti-terrorism law does not address these most pressing issues of the Filipino people.
We continue the fight as we, the people, are the authors of the fundamental law that Congress and the Executive branches recently assaulted with alacrity by passing and approving the Anti-Terrorism Act.
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