SEN.  BIAZON:  ANTI-TERROR  LAW  NEEDED  VS  TERRORISM

CEBU CITY, AUGUST 11, 2007
(STAR) After the enactment of the much talked-about Human Security Act of 2007 drew fear and apprehensions from various sectors, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, one of the principal authors of the said law, yesterday assured students, police officials and lawyers that the law is necessary to combat terrorism.

The forum on Republic Act 9372 was held at the Center for the Performing Arts of the University of San Jose-Recoletos yesterday attended by different students from other schools.

Biazon said the public need not be worried of possible abuses that law enforcers might commit against suspected individuals or organizations for terrorism as mere membership with certain organizations does not constitute terrorism.

“All the reason as a former soldier I think we need the law to protect the state, the government, the people, to protect the individuals coming into harm because of the terrorist. What do you call the acts committed in the bombing of ships, passenger buses, the attempt to bomb civilian aircraft, we have suffered and have been victims of terroristic acts. And unfortunately in terroristic acts the target is not the soldiers, the policeman, the government officials, the target is the populace,” Biazon said.

He also assured suspects will be given due process provided in the provisions of the said law.

“We cannot adopt what is being adopted by US government in Guantanamo Bay, where in the suspects, even without being charged in court, are held for how many years,” Biazon explained.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter former president Democrito Barcenas agreed that there is a need to contain and oppose terrorism but he said it should not be ambiguous nor sweeping like this law.

He said some of the provisions of the said law basically contradict what the Constitution provides.

Barcenas also questioned what acts can be considered as terrorism.

He also questioned the provision against coercing the government to give in to an unlawful demand, claiming that legitimate protesters do this every time they take to the streets calling for the ouster of government officials.

“With this provision we could not have a People Power anymore,” Barcenas said.

He also said some of the provisions he found “silly” and “funny” was Section 50 which penalizing law enforcers who commit mistakes by imprisonment and paying P500,000 for every day of detention for suspects who are later found innocent of the charges.

Barcenas said with the way the wheels of justice grind in this country it will take years before a decision is made in court, and lawmen cannot possibly pay hundreds of millions of pesos for the compensation of those deemed innocent.

The PNP hierarchy has ordered its men to study and understand the said law to avoid such incidents.

Militants have long been saying the law may be used against legitimate government critics, while human rights advocates and the religious sector are apprehensive that the law may trample basic human rights.

Still other sectors say that the law is redundant because there are already existing laws that can still be used against the terrorists.

Regional Trial Court judge Meinrado Paredes said this law is by record the most dissected law ever passed in Congress. — Edwin Ian Melecio/BRP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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