MANILA – The proposal of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to revive the anti-subversion law would require careful study, said Malacañang.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the measure’s revival would help government efforts to end the decades-old communist insurgency but it needs to be looked upon.
“It requires study,” Panelo said in a press conference on Tuesday. “Kung papasok ka sa mga organisasyon found to be allied na ang intensyon ay pabagsakin ang gobyerno, eh, ‘di wrong ‘yun,”
Año called for the revival of the Anti-Subversion Act to counter the leftist groups’ alleged recruitment of university students to the underground movement.
Opposition senator Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said the proposal to restore anti-subversion law – repealed in 1992 as part of the peace negotiations between the communist rebels and then President Fidel Ramos – would violate the Constitutional right of a person to freedom of assembly and association.
“The anti-subversion law was buried a long time ago for it was proven that such a policy, aside from being prone to abuse and a tool to harass, undermined some of our basic Constitutional rights,” Drilon said.
Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution states: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
According to Drilon, there are enough laws that can help authorities to address terrorism and provide adequate protection to the State.
The Ilonggo senator cited Republic Act 9372, or Human Security Act, which imposes stiffer penalties to a lengthy list of acts of terrorism.
“We should not make it as an excuse to always blame the inefficiencies in our laws, proven or otherwise, for our failure to discharge our duty,” he said./PN