Philippines allays fear on terror-law implementation

Jul. 10, 2007

MANILA — Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF) spokesman Ricardo Blancaflor on Sunday allayed fears over the implementation of the Human Security Act (HSA) or the Anti-Terrorism Law, which he said, is for the protection of human rights.

Blancaflor, who is also the defense undersecretary for legal and special concerns, said that the public has no reasons to fear the law especially if they are not engaged in terrorism.

Do not be afraid of the Human Security Act. You have nothing to fear if you are not planning anything illegal. The law is for the protection of human rights and not for its (human rights) violation, he said.

He added that aside from the existing Revised Penal Code, the HSA which would be implemented starting July 15, is needed to address the threat of terrorism which is a reality in the Philippines.

We are lacking in law (to fight terrorism), he said.

Blancaflor cited that one of the suspects in the Valentines Day bombing in Makati City had been previously arrested only to be released on bail after being charged with a mere illegal possession of explosives.

We previously arrested him but the charge against him was merely illegal possession. So he was able to go out (on bail). When he went out, he returned to Mindanao and went back to Manila and bombed the bus (in Makati City), he said.

The attack was perpetrated jointly by the radical Rajah Solaiman Movement and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group. It was reportedly funded by Southeast Asian regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah.

Under the new law, however, a mere possession could be classified as a terrorist act. Now, he cannot do that (jump bail) because if you are arrested even for illegal possession (of explosives), you cannot be allowed to post bail, Blancaflor said. (PIA Dispatch)

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