Much has already been said about the multifarious provisions of the so-called Anti-Terror Law that violate a litany of rights and run frontally afoul of the Constitution and basic legal principles. 

Lurking among these major sections are other alarming provisions on the expansive meaning of “material support” to include expert advise and assistance; the restrictive criterion for allowing humanitarian aid; the institutionalization of uncounselled hostile interrogations embedded in the requirement of keeping a logbook; the intimidating application of the law to millions of OFWs and migrants all over the world through its very, very long arm, eyes and ears beyond our disputed shores; and the potential compounding of the prolonged periods of detention without judicial warrant and without  charges by serializing them indefinitely.

In exchange, we endure a circus of inane, fallacious and tangential arguments from the genuinely naive and gullible to the most self-righteous and manipulative:

“You should read the law before you criticize. You either have not read it or you are illiterate. The oppositors are cerebrally challenged. Their legal analysis is myopic and full of disinformation. The oppositors are protesting to destabilize the situation.

  • “Dami kasi umeepal. We have invited the human rights organizations but they did not show up. If you keep silent, you need not worry about the law.
  • “Only terrorists and supporters of terrorists oppose the law. Huwag nyo itago mga terrorists sa ranks ninyo. 
  • “Do you get a warrant when you see a suicide bomber with a vest? Hope their families will not be at the receiving end of terrorist attacks before it is too late to regret it.  
  • “Other countries have worse anti-terror laws. We are one of the weakest in approach to terrorism. 
  • “Should the NPA not be glad because it will increase their ranks? 
  • “Kapag napasa natin ito, di na natin kelangan ng Martial Law.”

Even a quick peek at this landscape of “arguments” would  reveal that they do not need any help from the oppositors of the law to see how unconvincing, insulting and addling they are.  

Or how great a divide there is between sober and studied though emphatic explanation on the one hand, and whimsical and demagogic combobulation of ad hominems, fallacies, spins, deflections and even misrepresentations, on the other.

If we have proponents and propositions like these, have mercy on us all.

And we hope the oral arguments in Court would not be a theatre for such display of serial murder of logic, reason, law and experience.

If only for these, an expeditious and crucial Status Quo Ante Order meanwhile can at least put a halt to such aggravations. And give the unprecedented number and diversity of the Petitions  contesting the law the respect and seriousness they deserve. Perhaps. #

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)

Counsel for Petitioners
by: Edre U. Olalia (President), Ephraim B. Cortez (Secretary General), Josalee S. Deinla (Spokesperson), Kathy A. Panguban (Women and Children Committee Head), Angelo Karlo T. Guillen, Rene C. Estocapio, Frank Lloyd B. Tiongson, Melanie Y. Pinlac, Hilton A. Lazo