Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Fascists Had Come To Roost

As the Human Security Act dawns on us, the list of queries seems to lengthen. Though hotly discussed, still, more obscurities crop up. The broad and vague definition of terrorism alone strikes fear among the people. Most may not be aware, but determination is left in the hands of unstable megalomaniacs.

A commission composed of a biased, highly partisan group will definitely abuse their power in order to curtail and finally rid GMA of her headaches. Are we to believe that they will exercise objectivity and impartiality? They are are now saying that this law is weak and is more disadvantageous to the law enforcer than to the suspect. But despite the assurances, trust for those who will sit in the commission does not exist. Do you expect the likes of Raul Gonzalez and Norberto Gonzales to exercise objectivity and due process?

How many times have we seen this administration overstep the boundaries of law? The military and police have been too trigger-happy when dealing with genuine dissent. Time and again we have witnessed violations in civil liberties. I am not saying that we should not tackle terrorism but we need to make everything clear. This administration has been taking it from so many sides but it has not touched the guilty but has vented its ire on those who have legitimate and moral cases against it.

Defenders of the HSA claim that its been de-fanged to the point that the law is inutile. With this administration, no law is sacred, not even the Supreme Court can prevent the executive from taking a law and interpreting it as it suits their needs. We watched from the sidelines and took Marcos's declaration, hook, line and sinker. It took years before we saw what Martial Law really was all about. To give the HSA a chance to breathe is like giving GMA the legal hand to destroy her detractors.

Signs of things to come have long been shown by the administration. Their obsession with "taking out" their critics is not about to end. GMA's attackdogs have even stepped up their propaganda and chest-beating. What's worse, some people actually believe it. The legal left's and the opposition's suspicions are not imaginary nor dumbfounded. GMA and her lieutenants have taken every possible step to silence them The big-name critics have been harassed and even charged in our courts with trumped up charges, while the lesser known ones and the insignificant others were made examples of and ended up as mere statistics of extra-judicial violations.

Marcos and as Enrile admitted, used the red-scare to legitimize his rule. GMA is now using the same and even exploited the Mindanao issue to ram through the HSA. If she is hellbent in the anti-terror campaign, why isn't the MILF or the MNLF in the terror list? Why pull out our contingent in Iraq? Clearly, the HSA was given priority to legitimize the extra-judicial operations of the government. Have we not learned our lessons yet? In the hands of an abusive regime, anything is possible. The Supreme Court maybe independent but not the other branches of the judiciary. The lower courts and even judges of the appellate courts have played along with the administration.

So who would safeguard our liberties then? A good law can always end up a bad one through bad implementation. A law in the hands of the "lawless" can be easily abused.The unlawful becomes lawful and vice versa. Terrorism is evil but it cannot be attributed solely to the insurgents. The state as well can be guilty of the same. When a state instills fear and cultivates a culture of fear or even just leaves a chilling effect, that in itself is terrorism.

We have both sides of the extreme. We have a long standing insurgency and an "extremely" paranoid administration. The state has the right to protect itself, but for the right reasons. Democracy has limitations, that is very true. That is why we have laws and these laws also guarantee our rights. In the end, its the implementation and those who implement the law that carries on its shoulders, the sole responsibility of staying true to its essence.

Some may argue that its the people who are paranoid. Who can blame us, all this administration has shown us is its insincerity and abuse. The administration wants us to support its baby, the HSA yet it has not lifted a finger to push a law against extra-judicial violations. Activists continue to disappear. Actvists continue to be wantonly killed. And even journalists fall victim to assassination. The balance clearly tips to the government side. It wants us to do our part with blind abandon but is unwilling to uphold what is rightfully ours.

So who's afraid of the HSA? Certainly not those who will benefit from it. The neo-cons and the extreme right must be partying now. Labor unions must now think twice before demanding anything from the government. The transport sector can no longer bargain for what little income they earn. Students can no longer voice their grievances against state policies. The opposition can no longer raise any issue against the incumbent no matter how it affects national interest. So who's afraid of the HSA? You and me, and the rest of the stakeholders of democracy.