Opinion Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

EDITORIAL - Toothless law

Before President Duterte classifies communist rebels as terrorists and wages war against them, he should make sure his security forces are prepared to apply the law against terrorism – Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act.

RA 9372 was enacted way back in 2007, but lawmakers inserted into the measure several provisions ostensibly meant as safeguards against human rights abuses, which left little room even for honest mistakes on the part of counterterrorism forces and virtually defanged the law.

The measure makes intelligence gathering transparent, allowing the person under police surveillance that must be court-approved to challenge the court order, and requiring the identification of the police officers involved, including their full names and addresses. The New People’s Army and Abu Sayyaf would be delighted to obtain such information. Failure to submit to the Court of Appeals a detailed report on the types and number of wiretapped recordings made can earn law enforcers from 10 to 12 years behind bars.

The law also requires the identification of police informants. And while the provision against the use of torture is in keeping with constitutional guarantees on human rights, counterterrorism forces may not want to be imprisoned for 12 to 20 years for using “threat, intimidation” or “mental, moral or psychological pressure” on a terror suspect.

If RA 9372 had been applied in liberating Marawi from the clutches of Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists, many members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines could end up behind bars for up to 20 years. The government did not even follow the procedure under RA 9372 for classifying the Mautes as terrorists.

The government may have to go through that process if it intends to classify the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, their armed wing the NPA and their front organizations as terrorist groups. President Duterte may want to take a different route in dealing with these groups. Or he may ask his congressional allies to review the law that government forces avoid enforcing.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Opinion Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1