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‘The anti-activism and anti-dissent bill’

“The real name for the bill should be the Anti-Activism and Anti-Dissent Bill, because that is its evident purpose. Apart from its [in my opinion] violations of the Constitutional Bill of Rights, and usurpation by the Executive of judicial authority, the bill itself scarcely helps authorities fight terrorism in any meaningful way— real terrorism, not peaceful activism and civil dissent.”–Mylene Dizon, actor

Siguruhing hindi lalabag sa karapatang pantao–Nora Aunor

“Sa panahon ngayon na sobrang paghihirap ang pinagdadaanan ng ating mga kababayan na marami ang nagkakasakit, nawawalan ng trabaho at walang makain ay sana huwag munang madaliin ang pagpapasa ng antiterrorism bill. Magandang mapag-aralan muna itong mabuti para masiguradong hindi nga ito lalabag sa mga karapatang pantao ng mamamayang Pilipino.”–Nora Aunor

A full-blown dictatorship is made more palpable

“With the conviction of Ressa and Santos, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, the killings and threats against journalists, the numerous violations faced by Filipinos on a daily basis and the passage of the terror bill, a full-blown dictatorship is made more palpable.”–Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general

Women join Grand Mañanita vs the anti-terror bill

Women were among those who participated in the Grand Mañanita at the University of the Philippines last Friday, June 12.

According to Clarisse Palce, secretary general of Gabriela Youth, they came to show the people’s strong disagreement with the measure.

She said the bill will worsen attacks on women, such as those implemented at checkpoints during the coronavirus lockdown where police officers solicit sexual favors before allowing women to pass. (Video by Maricon Montajes)

Juana Change impersonates NCRPO chief at ‘Grand Mañanita’

Performance artist Mae Paner, also known as Juana Change, impersonates Philippine National Police-National Capital Region Police Office chief Major General Debold Sinas at last Friday’s Grand Mañanita at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Sinas was in hot water last month after celebrating his birthday party inside a police camp he later tried to justify as a surprise “mañita” given him by police officers under his command.

Critics say Sinas’ party, complete with cake, catered food, beer, flowers and a live band, was in violation of coronavirus lockdown protocols the general himself vowed to implement strictly.

In protest of the impending signing into law of the controversial anti-terrorism bill, activists named their protest event at UP as a “Grand Mañanita” in sly reference to the general’s birthday party.

Checkpoints, rains fail to stop ‘Grand Mañanita’ vs Duterte’s anti-terror bill

Scenes at the “Grand Mañanita” protest event against the Rodrigo Duterte government’s anti-terrorism bill at the University of the Philippines, June 12.

Despite many police checkpoints surrounding the sprawling University of the Philippines campus and the rains brought by a typhoon, thousands of protesters attended the event that fell on the 122nd anniversary of Philippine Independence from European colonization.

Organized primarily by the group Movement Against Tyranny, the event may very well be the most creative protest action this year.

(Parody song “Mañanita” by Plagpul of the song “Seńorita” by Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello/Video editing by Jek Alcaraz, videophotography by Alcaraz, Joseph Cuevas, Sanaf Marcelo, Maricon Montajes)

International lawyers groups call on Duterte to veto anti-terrorism bill

By Joseph Cuevas

Hundreds of lawyers and legal organizations from all the world expressed “deepest concern and consternation” over the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill of the Philippine government, which they criticize as violative of international laws.

In an open letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, justice secretary Menardo Guevarra and all members of the Philippine Congress, the groups said they are alarmed with potential abuses the measure will unleash upon the Filipino people once implemented.  

“We, the undersigned lawyers and legal organizations from around the world, write to express our deepest concern and consternation about the Anti-Terrorism Bill, also known as House Bill 6875 and Senate Bill 1093, which was apparently passed by a virtual vote in Congress and now transmitted to President Duterte to sign into law,” the groups said in the letter, dated June 11.

The lawyers urged Guevarra in his review of the bill to reject both versions Constitutional as well as procedural grounds and for Duterte to veto the measure.

They also urged members of Congress to withdraw their affirmative votes of the bills and act to protect the basic human rights of the Filipino people.

“The international community is alarmed by the apparent abuses of power and civil unrest that the law will bring about. It will suppress and criminalize free speech and dissent, label and punish political enemies as terrorists, and unjustly deprive them of basic internationally recognized human rights and due process,” the letter reads.

The lawyers said the bill contains overbroad and vague definitions of terrorism that not only criminalize freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press.

They added that so-called safeguards included in the bill are weakened by the vague definitions of terrorism and protecting public safety and can actually serve to crush legitimate forms of protest, such as striking workers’ picket lines and peaceful mass demonstrations. #

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The full text of the letter:

June 11, 2020

Dear President Rodrigo Duterte, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and members of the Congress of the Philippines:

We, the undersigned lawyers and legal organizations from around the world, write to express our deepest concern and consternation about the Anti-Terrorism Bill, also known as House Bill 6875 and Senate Bill 1093, which was apparently passed by a virtual vote in Congress and now transmitted to President Duterte to sign into law. In this crucial moment, we urge the Justice Secretary to reject the bill on Constitutional as well as procedural grounds. Further, we urge President Duterte to veto the bill. For members of the Congress, if you are recorded as voting yes, we urge you to speak up and withdraw your vote. You all still have the opportunity to act to uphold and protect the basic human rights of the Filipino people.

The international community is alarmed by the apparent abuses of power and civil unrest that the law will bring about. It will suppress and criminalize free speech and dissent, label and punish political enemies as terrorists, and unjustly deprive them of basic internationally recognized human rights and due process. The bill greatly expands the powers of the executive by the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), composed of presidential cabinet officials and retired generals who serve under the pleasure of the President, with the power to declare and proscribe organizations and parties as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers without ample and fair opportunity to be fully heard in a court of law. The bill also authorizes police or military to arrest people without a judicial warrant and detain and investigate a suspect without charges for a maximum of 24 days.

The bill contains overbroad and vague definitions of terrorism that not only criminalize virtually all acts of freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press, but also criminalize intent justified by baseless, politically motivated accusations. The so-called safeguards included in the bill that claim to protect the people’s freedoms are weakened by the vague definitions of terrorism and protecting public safety and can actually serve to crush “legitimate” forms of protest, such as striking workers’ picket lines and peaceful mass demonstrations.

This bill comes as the attention of the world has been drawn to the War on Drugs carried out by the current administration. These policies have authorized police and armed vigilantes to kill tens of thousands of mostly poor people with impunity. A report mandated by a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to investigate the Philippines’ human rights situation was released recently on June 4th and concluded that extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and barriers to accessing justice were already rampant, even before this bill was introduced.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill is unnecessary and is a tyrannical upgrade of the Philippines’s already existing Human Security Act. The bill largely contravenes the 1987 Constitution which was a democratic victory following the Filipino people’s ouster of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and the end of Martial Law. It is abhorrent and immoral to pass this legislation while the global community is still suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic. The Filipino people do not deserve a state-sanctioned attack against their basic rights while they struggle to heal from the pandemic. Instead they deserve for their elected legislators to utilize their power, energy, and resources to fight for mass testing, healthcare, and economic relief.

Further, we are troubled that the Anti-Terrorism Bill was certified in a highly irregular manner. There are over 300 members of the House of Representatives. Only around 20 were present in person during the vote, with the rest voting remotely over Viber, and not a proper virtual platform. Multiple members have expressed that the votes they cast were different from the votes that were recorded. A few have withdrawn their vote since that time, stating that they did not have enough time to study the content of the bill before the vote. Therefore, at minimum, the certification of the bill should be rejected on a procedural basis to preserve the integrity of democracy. We oppose any intent to railroad this legislation when there are other more urgent matters being faced by the Filipino people that its government should act swiftly to address.

The Philippines has ratified the International Covenant on CIvil and Political Rights. Among the provisions of the Covenant is Article 19, which states: 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference and 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include the freedom to seek and receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. The Anti-Terrorism Bill violates all the rights that the Philippines has agreed to guarantee its people.

As legislators and officials of a democratic nation, we ask you to do justice for the Filipino people. The international community remembers the dark period of Philippine history under Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship and Martial Law. Just as we expressed support for the Filipino people’s rights then, we amplify the people’s call now to not repeat history. Say no to the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Say yes to honoring the Filipino people’s legacy of resisting tyrannical rule and defending democracy through any means. #

Organizational Signatories:
• International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
• Arab Lawyers Association (UK)
• Asociación Americana de Juristas

* Asociación Nacional de Abogados (ANAD) de México
• Asociación Venezolana de Juristas
• Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers
• Center for Research and Elaboration on Democracy (CRED)
• Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild
• Corporación Solidaridad Jurídica de Colombia
• Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh (DLAB)
• FAI-Rade
• FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
• Filipinx Law Student Association at UC Davis School of Law
• Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer
• Group for International Legal Intervention (GIGI)
• Haldane Society for Socialist Lawyers
• International Commission on Labor Rights (ICLR)
• Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice
• National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa (NADEL)
• National Lawyers Guild (United States)
• National Lawyers Guild – NY Chapter
• National Lawyers Guild – International Committee
• People’s Law Office-International Office
• PROGRESS Lawyers Network (Belgium)
• Progressive Lawyers Association – Turkey (ÇHD)
• SURES – Venezuela
• Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers


Individual Signatories:
• Alihan Pilaf, Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), Izmir Turkey
• Aliya Karmali, Oakland, CA
• Angela Cornell, Cornell University Law School, Ithaca, New York, USA
• Ashwini Sukthankar,New York, USA
• Asia Parks, NLG GA, Atlanta, Ga, USA
• Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director, Project South. Past president, National Lawyers Guild., Atlanta
• Basawa Prasad Kunale, Bengaluru, India
• Beth S. Lyons, IADL, New Jersey, U.S
• Brittany Burback, Sublime Law, Phoenix, AZ

* Bruce Nestor, National Lawyers Guild – Minnesota Chapter, Minneapolis, MN
• Ceren Uysal, Progressive Lawyers Association, Vienna
• Ceren Yilmaz, CHD , Ankara, Türkiye
• Charlotte Kates, National Lawyers Guild International Committee, Vancouver, Canada
• Chloe Czabaranek, San Jose, CA, USA
• Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Division Legal Counsel, Apple Valley, MN, USA
• Court M. Lee, Esq., Sige! LGBTQIA+ Filipinos, Astoria, USA
• Daniel Meyers, Natiomal Lawyers Guild -NYC, New York
• David L. Mandel, National Lawyers Guild, Sacramento
• Dianne Post, Facilitator, Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild, Phoenix, AZ, USA
• Eduardo R.C. Capulong, CUNY School of Law, NY, USA
• Elvan Olkun, Kocaeli Türkiye
• Emily Brandt, NLG Fresno Chapter, Fresno
• Erdogan Akdogdu, ÇHD, Izmir / Turkey
• Evelyn Dürmayer, IADL representative at the UN in Vienna
• Felicity Gerry QC, Crockett Chambers and Deakin Uni, Melbourne and Carmelite Chambers, London, Melbourne, Australia
• Gilbert Saucedo, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
• Halime Senli, Antalya, Turkey
• Hoda Mitwally, New York City, United States
• Huwaida Arraf, Esq., civil/human rights attorney, Macomb
• Jackelyn Mariano, National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, Elmhurst, NY, USA
• Jaclyn Quiles-Nohar,Queens, NY
• Jan Fermon, Secretary General, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Jeanne Mirer, President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Jeffrey Frank, National Lawyers Guild, Chicago, USA
• Jeffrey Petrucelly, National Lawyers Guild, Boston, Suffolk County, MA, USA
• Jerome P. Wallingford, San Diego, California USA
• Jet Orbida, PeacePond Farmers Assoc., Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Philippines
• Jo Dereymaeker, PROGRESS Lawyers Network, Antwerp, Belgium
• Johanna Gusman, Human Rights Lawyer/Activist , Washington, DC USA
• John I. Laun, Laun Law Offices, Middleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
• John Philo, Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, Detroit
• John Witeck, Hawaii Workers Center, Honolulu
• Judith Mirkinson, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco, CA, USA
• Judy Somberg, National Lawyers Guild, USA, Cambridge, MA, USA

* Sasamoto, Secretary General, Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)
• Kari Rudd, San Francisco
• Karla Maria Moreno, National Lawyers Guild, Miami, United States
• Kathy Johnson, National Lawyers Guild
• Katrina Asuncion, Filipinx Law Students Association, UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA, United States of America
• Kristina Mazzocchi, MM&J, PLLC, Brooklyn, NY, USA
• Lamis J. Deek, J.D. , Global Justice & Human Rights Law Network, National Lawyers Guild, New York
• Larry Redmond, National Lawyers Guild, Chicago
• Louis Dussan – Presidente, Asociacion Americana de Juristas Rama Colombia, Bogota Colombia
• Luís Carlos Moro, from Brazil and General Secretary of American Association of Jurists.
• Marie-Claude St-Amant, Montreal, Canada
• Marjan Kris Abubo, Davis, United States
• Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Mark Stern, NLG IC, Somerville Massachusetts
• Max Boqwana, National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa (NADEL)
• Maximiliano Garcez, Advocacia Garcez, Brasília, Brazil
• Mehmet Altuntas, CHD, Mersin, Turkey
• Mürsel Ünder, Cagdas Hukukcular Dernegi , Turkey
• Naim Eminoglu, ÇHD (Progressive Lawyear Association), Ankara, Turkey
• Natalie González, Esq., New York, USA
• Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, National Lawyers Guild, New York
• Nergiz Tuba Aslan, CHD, Izmir, Turkey
• Philip Althouse, National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
• Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London; Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Colchester, England
• Raymond Lahoud, Esquire, Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Allentown, PA
• Ria Julien, Sugar Law Center, New York, NY
• Richard P. Koch, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco
• Robert Atkins, UK
• Sabah al-Mukhtar, President, Arab Lawyers Association (UK), London
• Sefa Aydogan, Turkey
• Seraldi Seda, ÇHD, Turkey Istanbul

* Susan Scott, National Lawyers Guild, Inverness, California
• Suzanne Adely, National Lawyers Guild, Yonkers
• Thomas Schmidt, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH), Düsseldorf, Germany
• Troy Osaki, Seattle, USA
• Ugur Esat Kesküs, CHD (Turkiye), Istanbul / Turkiye
• Ümit Büyükdag, ÇHD, Türkiye
• Urko Aiartza, Eskubideak, (Basque Democratic Lawyers assoc. ) &ELDH, Donostia, Basque Country
• Vanessa Ramos, Asociación Americana de Juristas, New York
• Vannalee Cayabyab, Filipinx Law Student Association at UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA, USA
• William Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana US
• Yevgenii Gerasymenko, PhD, Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers

Lawyers group says peaceful protests during quarantine legal

By Joseph Cuevas

A group of human rights lawyers reminded authorities there is no law prohibiting rallies under the government’s Covid19 quarantine.

Reacting to a Philippine National Police (PNP) warning that protesters may be arrested if they join planned Philippine Independence Day protests Friday, June 12, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said the anti-coronavirus law does not authorize the arrest of citizens exercising their freedom of expression.

In a statement, NUPL said Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and RA) 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases do not prohibit rallies.

“They do not have provisions allowing arrests simply on alleged violation of mass gathering or quarantine rules,” NUPL said.

The PNP is reported to have issued threats to arrest protesters against the controversial anti-terrorism bill due for signing into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Various groups have announced a protest event dubbed the “Grand Mañanita”, in clear reference to PNP National Capital Region Police office commander Debold Sinas’ controversial party last May.

The police general’s birthday popularly is perceived as a blatant violation of the government’s own prohibitions against mass gatherings during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Department of Interior and Local Government also said public gatherings during the current General Community Quarantine (GCQ) are prohibited while Malacanang yesterday said that mass gatherings are only limited to 10 persons.

NUPL however pointed out that arrests of protesters, such as those that happened against Bulacan and Marikina relief workers, Caloocan jeepney drivers and anti-terrorism bill protesters in Cebu City, are not prohibited by the Bayanihan law as well as various Inter-Agency Task Force rules and executive orders on the ongoing quarantines.

The group added that the Bayanihan law and the orders are not criminal laws that allow the arrests of protesters.

The NUPL also pointed out relevant laws and statutes such as Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the 1985 Public Assembly Act or B.P. 880, Article 21 of 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights safeguarding the rights of citizens to air grievances.

Various groups all over the country are planning on coordinated rallies as opposition to the prospective anti-terrorism law snowballs. #

The Anti-Terrorism Bill is prone to abuse

“The vagueness of the definition of the crime of terrorism in this bill is prone to abuse. Some provisions of the bill will prevent us artists from performing our roles as mirrors of society, as truth tellers, as thought provokers. Our art is a powerful tool to provoke reflection and action. Tutol kami sa Anti-Terrorism Bill.”–Angel Aquino, actor

Meme by Carlo Francisco/Kodao

Video shows unidentified man intimidating household of Cebu engineer arrested for joining #JunkTerrorBill rally

By FYT

“He was just arrested now, but next time, he might be exchanging fire with government troops, and that’s when you’ll say it’s too late, when he’s already in a coffin,” the man can be heard saying in Cebuano in the video obtained by FYT.

He was referring to Al Ingking, a 25-year-old electrical engineer and one of the “Cebu 8” who were arrested during a rally against the anti-terrorism bill on June 5.

According to Ingking’s family, the man and his companion arrived at their house in a silver Toyota Avanza with plate number YGB-903 at 1:50 PM on Monday, June 8. The incident happened a few hours before Ingking and 7 other protesters were released from jail.

The undidentified men came with a threat, Inking’s sister told FYT in a phone interview.

“Badlonga na ninyo kay sa sunod ninyo mahibaw-an naa na na siya sa kabaong (Warn him or he’ll be in a coffin the next time you see him),” one of them who claimed they were from a certain government agency allegedly said.

“The men started asking questions about my brother like whether this was really my brother’s place of residence, and whether he has been an activist for a long time,” Ingking’s sister said.

“My brother was merely exercising his right of freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble, to speak out on the possible horrors of what the Anti-Terrorism Bill could bring, and yet these men have the gall to invade our house; to intimidate, insinuate, and make fallacious statements against my brother and activists,” she added.

Ingking said he is not affiliated with any progressive group but he shares the growing clamor to junk the anti-terrorism bill as a concerned citizen.

“Umabot na siya sa boiling point. I felt that I really had to act, ‘Please do something and don’t let this opportunity pass by’. To use my voice, however little it may be, before it is silenced by this anti-terrosim bill.” Ingking told FYT in a phone interview.

“I felt that it was already too much – how the government railroaded the Anti-terrorism Bill instead of focusing on what’s important for the society today, which is the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Ingking graduated cum laude in electrical engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2016.

“Our parents taught us that we should not only be excelling in academics or other stuff,” he said, stressing that “we should also have the heart for the masses, have the empathy for others. #