This baseless accusation coming from Esperon, who is part of the Anti Terrorism Council, only further exposes the draconian nature of the Anti Terror Law and how it will be used to curtail our basic human rights.
The criticism and opposition to the bill should not be interpreted as support for terrorism. Rather, it is an exercise of our right to dissent – a fundamental right that the Duterte administration is trying to curtail.
Such statements coming from an ATC member like Esperon are dangerous, to say the least. It is all the more reason for us, the youth and the people, to intensify our voices to call to junk the terror law.
The future is crystal clear with the Terror Law. Through mere suspicion, the ATC can order the law enforcement agencies to wiretap, to surveil, and worst, to arrest an individual without a warrant – detaining them for a period up to 24 days.
We are still under a pandemic and undergoing a humanitarian crisis, the people are in great poverty, great hunger and are made even more vulnerable to the virus.
In the midst of all these, Online Tokhang has been rampant these past months. People who openly criticized the Duterte government’s inutile response to the pandemic through social media were hunted down and criminalized. Teachers, construction workers, the youth and ordinary citizens were victimized by this online Tokhang – a scheme that will only escalate in the coming months as the government continues to fail its people. The Duterte Regime has only succeeded in exacerbating the already inhumane situation of the Filipino people.
With the Anti Terror Law, and the statements by ATC members like Esperon, it is clear that Filipinos who will forward their needs, exercise dissent, and call to uplift their situation can now be subjected to Terror Law.
The youth would like to remind the Duterte Regime and his cohorts that freedom of expression is enshrined in our constitution. The government should respect and give it its highest regard. The government should always ensure that the rights of the people are respected and exercised not by signing a law that will curtail the basic freedom of the people.
The youth along with the broad masses remain resolute in defending our democracy and freedoms. We will not forget that Duterte signed the terror law that is worse than Martial Law. Ultimately, the law is unconstitutional. It will only serve to curtail our basic human rights and exacerbate the culture of impunity in the country.