Lawmakers from Mindanao on Thursday sought a congressional inquiry into the alleged unreasonable search and seizure and the subsequent warrantless arrest of two Muslim traders in San Andres, Manila last June 12.
Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman led the filing of House Resolution No. 981 denouncing the warrantless arrest of two Moro traders, Saadudin Alawiya and Abdullah Maute.
The Manila policemen who arrested the two also reportedly searched their houses.
“The primary objective of this probe is to get to the bottom of what happened in the afternoon of June 12 in the residence of the two Muslim traders, get the side of the police, find out if there was really abuse of authority, and study if there is a need for legislation to address an injustice,” Hataman, former governor of the now-defunct ARMM, said.
Hataman, one of the lawmakers who voted against the Anti-Terrorism Bill, said that giving power to law enforcers to search and arrest without a warrant will only result in the abuse and misuse of the authority given to them under the measure.
Meanwhile, a multi-sectoral group said Thursday enacting the proposed anti-terrorism bill into law will help liberate the people from the threats of violent extremism and radicalism.
“As we commemorated last June 12 the anniversary of our freedom, the anti-terrorism bill should also be passed,” Jose Antonio “Ka Pep” Goitia, Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI) secretary-general, said in a statement.
Goitia said the Filipino people deserve freedom against the tyranny, oppression, violence, killings of innocents, and the long-standing armed insurgency brought by communist groups, Islamic extremists, and other rebel organizations in the country.
The legislation of the proposed anti-terrorism bill, he said, is key to end all forms of terrorism.
“This is a legislative measure that would free people from claws of global terrorism,” Goitia said.
He said acts of terrorism must be stopped to allow people to live peacefully, adding that the proposed bill does not discount inviolable rights.
The proposed bill is not a step toward martial law, he said, but a solution to the long-running insurgency, among other issues, in the country.
Goitia said the public should not cast doubt on the contents of the bill because safeguard measures against human rights violations are in place.
“It is clearly stated in the 1987 Constitution under Bill of Rights that the Anti-Terrorism Council has mechanisms in place for potential human rights violations,” he said.
He said the rule of law will reign supreme in the end.
“Civilians will still rule, law will still prevail, human rights will dominate,” he said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is hoping President Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign the anti-terrorism bill to equip the government in its effort to maintain peace and order, as well as enhance security in the country.
“We are working to really achieve peace and order in our region. We are just waiting for the anti-terrorism bill to be signed into law,” Cusi said during the virtual meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (ROPC) of Region IV-B MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan).
“We need this anti-terrorism law to save our country. We need it to combat the terrorists who are hiding behind the human rights law to propagate their activities. We really need this to make our region, and also our country, peaceful. We need to have a law that will also help us achieve peace,” he said.
But militant organizations continue to oppose the passage of the bill.
Ariel Casilao, former Anakpawis party-list representative, said the public must also intensify its resistance to persuade more personalities, former public officials, lawyers groups, rights advocates in explicitly denouncing the measure.
Casilao cited the commitment of former SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to challenge the anti-terrorism bill as well as the position of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and various lawyer groups.
“Only a broad mass movement can be a deterrent to Duteret’s nationwide Martial Law through the enactment of the Anti-Terror Bill of 2020. Let us send a clear and definite message: The people don’t want a dictatorship. We must further condemn those behind this abomination of a law,” he added.