Anti-terror Act Further Emboldens Forces of State Terrorism
and Further Drives the People to Armed Revolution
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
21 February 2007
Even without the Anti-Terror Act, euphemistically called the Human Security Act
of 2007, the US-directed Arroyo regime has unleashed the counterrevolutionary
military and police forces on the people and spurred them to commit all kinds of
barbarities, including the massacre and massive displacement of people in the
countryside and the extrajudicial killing, abduction and torture of so many unarmed
legal activists. These atrocities are all in line with the Bush global war of terror and
its Philippine puppet version called Oplan Bantay Laya I and II.
Upon the signing of the Anti-Terror Act by Gloria M. Arroyo, the reactionary military
and forces and their special operations teams and death squads are further licensed
and further emboldened to commit acts of state terrorism. The main objective of
the Act is to suppress the people's movement for national liberation and democracy
and the broad range of legal forces criticizing and opposing the regime. If the
targets of the act were only such small groups like the supposedly Al Qaida-linked
Abu Sayyaf and Jema'ah Islamiyah, the existing system of security agencies and
criminal law on murder would have sufficed.
The Arroyo regime is inspired by the malevolent example of Bush in using the
September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center as pretext for carrying
out wars of aggression and pushing fascist acts of legislation and executive fiats
on a global scale in the name of anti-terrorism. It is ironic that while the Bush
global war of terror is beginning to unravel in the US, Iraq, Afghanistan and other
parts of the world the Philippine puppet authorities rush to produce the Anti-Terror
Act. This is calculated to please the Bush regime and serve the selfish political
interest of the Arroyo ruling clique.
The term "terrorism" is an old political cussword, an emotionally loaded word of
witchhunt for attacking the freedom of thought and belief or for inciting hatred
of certain racial or ethnic characteristics. Now, it is passed off as a legal term,
with all its vagueness and broadness, to override the clear and well-defined
differences between common crimes and political offenses. It is a catch-all
term of vilification.
The easily acknowledged targets of proscription are now Abu Sayyaf and the
Jema'ah Islamiyah. But the Arroyo regime is already spreading the word that
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front can be similarly proscribed if it does not capitulate.
Proscription is extendible to other Moro organizations and people who stand for
the right of the Moro people to self-determination and ancestral domain. The
Arroyo regime is now hell-bent on proscribing the Communist Party of the
Philippines, the New People's Army and the NDFP chief political consultant and
making a list of "terrorists" in line with the previous designation of the same
entities as "terrorist" by the US. The NDFP is also being threatened with
"terrorist" listing if it does not capitulate.
After the proscription of the CPP and the NPA as "terrorists", it would be easy
for the Arroyo regime to proscribe other parties and organizations as "terrorists"
collaborating and conspiring to commit "terrorism". The Arroyo regime has
demonstrated its viciousness in fabricating criminal charges against the broad
united front of opposition forces. In this connection, the legal patriotic and
progressive mass organizations and the legal opposition parties are vulnerable
It would also be easy to arrest and detain indefinitely individuals as officers
and members of "terrorist" organizations or as accomplices and accessories
in the commission of "terrorism". If a member of an already proscribed organization,
an individual can be easily subjected to rigorous surveillance and punitive sanctions.
These make the Anti-Terror Act a bill of attainder, which criminalizes and punishes
individuals on the basis of guilt by association.
Any party or organization or individual can be proscribed as "terrorist" upon the
decision of the implementing agency, the Anti-Terrorism-Council, on the basis
of intelligence reports and recommendations by the military and police. The
council is composed of the executive secretary, secretaries of justice, interior
and local government, national defense, foreign affairs, finance and the national
security adviser. The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency serves as the
council's secretariat. It is merely pro forma for the secretary of justice to get
from a regional trial court an ex parte ruling for the proscription. The target
of proscription has no chance to look at and contest the intelligence dossiers
used against him or her.
As a matter of course, the reactionary military, police and paramilitary forces
can arrest and detain anyone whom they regard or suspect as a "terrorist".
The time limit for detention without charges is supposed to be 72 hours.
But this is more than enough time to torture a confession out of the detainee
and detain him or her indefinitely on the unbailable charge of terrorism (maximum
penalty is reclusion perpetua of 40 years). There is also enough time to remove
all traces of the arrest and make the detainee disappear permanently. This is
not a farfetched possibility under the prevailing conditions of continuing human
rights violations with impunity and the stigmatization and suppression of patriotic
and progressive organizations and individuals as "terrorists".
The malicious intent of the Anti-Terror Act is to unleash state terrorism with
impunity and create a climate of fear without the need of any proclamation
to declare martial law. The objective is to intimidate and suppress not only
the revolutionary organizations and movement of the people but also the
opposition, dissenters and the independent media within the system. Thus,
the Anti-Terror Act provides for the easy proscription of organizations and
individuals, the widespread use of the 72-hour detention limit to torture and
even murder a detainee, indefinite detention on the nonbailable charge of
terrorism, the freezing and confiscation of financial assets, the easy incrimination
of so-called accomplices and accessories, the unlimited intrusions of surveillance
into privacy and family life, the oppressive restraints even on those released on
bail, and so on.
As well-proven by the ultimate failure of the 14-year Marcos fascist dictatorship,
the Arroyo regime will ultimately fall in disgrace by using the Anti-Terror Act to
terrorize the people. For a while, the draconian regime can do a lot of repression
and harm to the people. But unwittingly it incites and drives the broad masses
of the people and the revolutionary forces to wage the armed revolution for
national liberation, democracy and justice more fiercely than ever before. .
Many political activists and people who would otherwise stay in the legal political
struggle are pushed by the regime to join the armed revolution and seek justice
for wrongs done to them.
Whether the NDFP is proscribed by the Arroyo regime as "terrorist" or not, it
will find negotiations impossible with the reactionary Philippine government
after the proscription of the CPP and NPA as "terrorist". The negotiating panelists,
consultants and other related personnel and volunteers who are not necessarily
members of any organization of the NDFP will have to undertake legal prudence
and safeguards against the allegation of being "terrorists" in the Philippines and
the host countries where they are. The treachery of the Arroyo regime is
well-proven by its arbitrary suspension of the Joint Agreement on Safety and
Immunity Guarantees and the abduction and murder of a considerable number
of NDFP consultants and other personnel in the peace negotiations with the
The CPP, NPA and NDFP are confronted with the vow of the Arroyo regime to
destroy the people's revolutionary movement for national liberation and democracy
or to render it strategically inconsequential before 2010. It is therefore understandable
why the Filipino people and revolutionary forces are raising the level of their own
strength and capabilities for greater struggles for the purpose eradicating not only
the Arroyo regime but the entire ruling system of big compradors and landlords
who are beholden to US imperialism.###