March 30, 2006
Bombings in Mindanao are handiwork of anti-terror bill lobbyists – Virador
“The uncanny timing President’s call for the passage of the anti-terrorism bill in light of the recent spate of bombings in Mindanao reveals Malacañang’s desperation to continue its iron-fisted rule.”
Thus declared Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Philippine National Police chief Arturo Lomibao repeated calks for Congress to immediately pass the controversial bill.
“It is quite obvious that Macapagal-Arroyo and Lomibao are capitalizing on the bombing incidents in Jolo, Sulu and Digos City, Davao del Sur to vainly justify the passage of the Anti-Terrorism bill. All the bombings victimized hapless civilian targets: a videoke bar on February 18 and the Sulu Consumers Cooperative store on March 27 all in Jolo, and the destruction of a passenger bus in Digos City. We fear that the reign of terror of Arroyo’s security forces in Mindanao will continue with more bombings on civilians so as to railroad the Anti-Terrorism bill,” Virador said.
Congress has set its plenary debates for the measure on April 3 to 5.
“We have consistently pointed out that the definition of terrorism in the draft anti-terror measure is ambiguous and includes offenses already covered in the Revised Penal Code, but prescribes harsher penalties. It also contains provisions allowing warrantless arrests, arbitrary detention, heightened government intolerance and limitations on the freedom of the press. The attacks on progressive organizations and individuals will also be intensified once this bill becomes a law. Government should immediately compensate the victims of these bombings and the culprits should be caught and punished,” Virador said.
The militant solon also called on soldiers and policemen in the field “to defy orders that would endanger the public, including bombing missions.”
“I appeal to our compatriots in the uniformed services to listen to their sense of patriotism and their conscience and defy orders from their superiors that would endanger the lives and livelihood of civilians,” Virador said. ###