SC ruling on Human Security Act, paving the way for more human rights violations -- Karapatan

THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE for human rights in the Philippines, Karapatan, assailed the latest Supreme Court (SC) ruling affirming the constitutionality of the Human Security Act of 2007 (Republic Act 9372) as "paving way for more human rights violations."

Karapatan is one of the SC petitioners against the law.

Karapatan acting secretary-general Jigs Clamor said that human rights violations in the Philippines has continued under the Aquino administration as attested by 16 reported victims of extra-judicial killings, two victims of enforced disappearances, and continued detention of political prisoners like the Morong 43 health workers illegally searched, arrested, tortured and detained by the military.

"If violations were rampant even before the SC ruling, then it would definitely worsen with a strengthened legal framework by which state authorities could suppress civil and political liberties.  This is paving way for more violation of human rights," Clamor said.

"We have been opposing the passage of the law since 2001. It could be recalled that U.S. Director for National Intelligence John Negroponte even came to the Philippines in December 2005 to push for the prompt enactment of the law patterned after the anti-terror US Patriot Act. Now, the U.S, had finally found its way under Aquino," Clamor added.

Reacting on the ruling that the petition of Karapatan and others were merely "imagined" and that their "apprehension has no substantial basis," Clamor revealed that countless trumped-up charges have already been filed against leaders and activists of mass organizations and that warrantless arrests and abductions are, in fact, already being committed by the state. Worse, Clamor added, the law provides easy proscription and illegalization of people’s organizations and civil society groups.

"They may not have been charged under RA 9372 but by conjured criminal charges.  It is the state authorities, especially its security forces in the AFP and PNP, that are acting based on wild imaginations inimical to human rights," Clamor said.

"If you can detain two doctors, nurses and community health workers on the ridiculous charge of bomb-making, then who's to stop the generals of the AFP and DILG undersecretary Rico Puno for the PNP to arrest anybody," Clamor stated.

"It was Marcos' former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile who authored the "anti-terrorism" law dubbed as the "Human Security Act" to hide its insidious intent.  These martial law advocates should be the ones held accountable for real terrorism against thousands of victims, but instead of being punished, he was rewarded the Senate Presidency under Aquino," Clamor said.

"In the Senate, Mar Roxas voted against the HSA. He gave way to Aquino in the presidential bid, but what a way to return a friendship -- Aquino's court affirmed the law," he chided.

"The CBCP likewise expressed opposition to the law before but is now embroiled with its own fight with Aquino.  Definitely, Aquino will be gaining more enemies than allies with the the latest SC ruling."###