By Romy Teruel
Bohol Sunday Post
A Jurassic legal step, a throwback to martial law, an old trick that doesn't work, Cold War McCarthyism, a step backward, pointless, stupid, resurrecting a corpse.
These are just some of the description that leaders of militant left leaning organizations said of the plan of the government to revive R.A. 1700, the Anti-Subversion Law that criminalized even membership to the local communist organization (CPP).
The plan is being sought by Representative Jose Solis of Sorsogon, a province that has a long history of communist insurgency attach to it. Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr is also endorsing it favorably.
Earlier last Thursday, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo enounced her administration is prepared to back the plan. After all she has directive to the police and military to end communist insurgency by the end of her term in 2010.
R.A. 1700 was repealed in 1992 by the passage of R.A. 7636 during the Ramos Administration, himself a military man before becoming a President.
The militant group leaders have gained support from Party-List members of the House of Representatives, Senators Mirriam Defensor-Santiago, Manny Villar, Nene Pimentel, Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas. Senator Santiago said the Supreme Court has long settled the issue. Roxas said the revival would turn the hands of time to an era where might is right where one can only espouse ideas or actions that are acceptable to the powers that be.
Pimentel on the other hand said the plan is a means to consolidate more authoritarian power for Pres. Arroyo. While Legarda thinks the plan would only worsen the insurgency problem as it will drive people's organizations to go underground and swell the rank of those who see armed struggle as the remaining option to effect change.
On the side of the proponent, Gen. Esperon believes that the revival of the anti-subversion law won't adversely affect the stalled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).
He said the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law allowed the NPA to thrive. He anchored his support for the revival of the Anrti-Subversion law to the fact that while the CPP is a legal organization, its officers are also the ones running the NPA. The CPP cannot be allowed to run the NPA and only be faulted if they are caught with firearms, he said.
It is understandable to see politicians and political parties oppose the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law. After all it was the reason why many innocent civilians were put to prison or detention on their mere association with an outlawed organization.
There was compelling reasons to repeal R.A. 1700 because at that time it no longer served the purpose of its existence.
However on the part of law enforcers, it is also understandable for them to seek its revival, even if only its modified version, because the enemy of the state has not only taken advantage of the repeal of R.A. 1700 but also use it to escape prosecution.
If only the revival version can provide enough safeguards against abuse by law enforcers, then we say Congress should give it consideration. If government is serious in stumping out insurgency, it is only proper the law the will help address it is put in place.
Government cannot go to the table and negotiate peace if it has no convincing proof that it will be to the benefit of both to agree to a peaceful solution of the conflict.
NOTES: On December 19-20, 2007, all chiefs of police and senior officers of the 302nd Brigade will attend a seminar on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIRIHL). This is a project of the Local Monitoring Board (LMB) of CARHRIHL in the province and of the Provincial Peace and Order Council to inform and make aware our law enforcers of the provisions of this agreement that was signed by both the Negotiating Panel of Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP/NPA/NDF (CNN in 1998. Governor Aumentado, chairman of the LMB said this is geared towards reducing instances of human rights violation by our law enforcers.
The project is fully supported by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPPAP).
In support of CARHRIHL, a radio program "Barogi Katungod Mo" over DYTR-AM Radio Station was launched last Monday. It will be aired every Monday at 7:00 to 8:30 in the evening.
Today also starts the 9-day Dawn Mass or Misa de Gallo to signal each one's preparation for the coming of the Child Jesus on Christmas Day. May our hearts be prepared to receive Jesus on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas. -- www.boholsundaypost.net