terror teacher. notes of students on the terror law.

(The following are notes of students. They are not the legal opinion of the blog administrator.)

Posted by Student 15. unedited by blog administrator

July 22, 2007, 7:55 pm

 

malacanang.jpgPhoto right-clicked from ops.gov.ph

quote “Commentary on the Human Security Act

 

quote “The Human Security Act of 2007 creates a venue for trammeling upon the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. As a constitutionally protected right, freedom of expression can be overridden by the “chilling effect” that, by causing any form of agitation to the reading and viewing public by presupposed objective accounts of events in government, a journalist can be accused of creating “extraordinary fear of panic among the populace”, or conspiracy against said government. The public is forced into depoliticization, and will separate itself from vital issues of a possibly corruption-ridden state in order to survive. The law therefore creates a license for apathy, for then the public will fear to comment or complain—a fear rooted upon the possibility of being accused of terrorism, incarceration for the crime of “terrorism” and all that it implies. The mere reportage of events will no longer serve as a constitutionally protected right, but will serve as the noose that hangs over every journalist’s head. It is, in a sense, a protracted form of censorship.

 

 

quote “The credibility of the industry is also placed at stake by the provisions that are given by the HSA. Allowing agents of the government to employ surveillance and other forms of espionage on people under mere suspicion of terrorism paves the way for accessing information, no matter how privileged, may be stolen, coerced out of a journalist, a source, by any means possible, under the guise of legal action. This compromises the watchdog function of the press—any reporter could be coerced or intimidated, under the cloak of legality, to reveal sources, give out information, and report less than what is true. Even the safeguards supposedly placed by the authors of this law cannot assure the safety of the lives and limbs of reporters and journalists. The removal of protection of sources—directly or indirectly, as agents of the government may call a journalist a conspirator of some sort of terrorist activity—returns to the chilling effect. The industry then loses its vital position in society through the loss of confidence of sources and the public, as well as the death of an information and politicized public.” closed-quote.

xxx

Posted by Sheena Serrano student #18 unedited by blog administrator

 

Human Security Act of 2007″

2nd Blog Entry
By: Sheena Serrano student # 18 – Comm 192/MWX
(Unedited by Blog Administrator)

 

quote “Republic Act No. 9372, also known as the “Human Security Act of 2007” will hamper journalists from gathering information that could be used to build or back the articles that they have in mind. Journalists could be accused of being an accessory in conspiring to acts of terrorism especially if the source is someone who is openly critical to the government. Sources on the other hand would be afraid to speak and tell what they know regarding any anomalies that they found out for fear that they would be put under surveillance and lose their privacy or worse detained for a number of days. This makes it harder for Journalists to get a story going because they would have to find some other means to get information.

 

quote “Also, if the source is a fugitive, the writer might be subjected to inform the police or other enforcing body of the government the whereabouts of that person or else be detained without warrant of arrest for conspiring with a terrorist. Journalists could also be asked to name their source even though it is confidential if the police conclude that the source is a terrorist.

 

quote “These are just a few consequences that this law entails. What it aims is to impair our right to expression as well as our right to be critical to the government.” closed-quote.

xxx

 

Posted by Student #7 unedited by blog administrator

srvision.jpgPhoto right-clicked from ops.gov.ph

July 21, 2007, 7:55 pm

 

quote “Despite the opposition, Republic Act No. 9372, also known as the Human Security Act of 2007, was signed into law and took effect a few days ago. Sec.2 of the HSA read “It is to be understood, however, that the exercise of the constitutionally recognized powers of the executive department of the government shall not prejudice respect for human rights which shall be absolute and protected at all times.” However, Sec. 18 proved to be the opposite of this claim. A person, who is only suspected of engaging into a terrorism act, can be put in detention for three days without judicial warrant of arrest. This is clearly a violation of human rights. It is only logical to think that a lot can happen in three days even if it is written that the one in detention is entitled to the payment of damages once acquitted as mentioned in Sec. 50. Not that I lost my trust in the justice system but I could not imagine that someone acquitted will be paid the amount P500,000 for each day he/she is deprived of liberty. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to make someone admit of wrongdoings than pay him/her that lump sum? To put it more clearly, would the authorities let someone go out of jail and pay him/her knowing that they may be subjected to criticisms or worse, human rights violation cases because of the mistake they made?

 

quote “Sec. 7 allowed the surveillance of suspects. It, nonetheless, emphasized that “…surveillance, interception and recording of communications between lawyers and clients, doctors and patients, journalists and their sources and confidential business correspondence shall not be authorized.” But how sure are we that this provision will not be abused? Who will know that they, the authorities, wire-tapped a particular conversation? Come to think of it, who can really stop someone from wiretapping? Remember that the president herself was a victim of this act even if there is Anti-wire Tapping Law. But legalizing it would be even worse. It may be an open door for blackmails and other sorts of abuses.” closed-quote.

xxx

 

Posted by Student #6

(unedited by blog administrator)

 

Student #20

 

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Photo right-clicked from philippinecollegian.net

quote “Even campus papers have to practice good journalism. But not for the first time, the Philippine Collegian did a rather poor job when they reported on the Human Security Act in their July 13 issue. The story headlined “Anti-terror law, ipatutupad na sa Hulyo 15” contained all but the side of the HSA’s proponents, or at least those who see some good in the said law. Throughout the article, four sources were quoted extensively, all of them ranting against the statute.

 

quote “I, too, am against the HSA, but justice is also due, not only to the pro-HSA, but to the Collegian staff. I believe fairer reportage on controversial issues (i.e. getting the other side’s say, etc.) would elevate our Collegian to something more than just a mouthpiece of the predominantly Left UP community to a publication that is fair, credible, and responsible.” closed-quote

Xxxx

 

 

 

Posted by Student 6 unedited by blog administratos

 

quote “The Human Security Act will hamper the people’s freedom of expression. The journalists, reporters and other media practitioners are really affected by this Act. This could affect the news that the media would be feeding us in the future. The Act brings fear to them because there’s a provision in it that states that surveillance will be conducted to anyone that the police and other law enforcement personnel suspects to be committing a crime. So this means that sheer suspicion has been considered an enough basis for these people to go snooping on other people’s lives (wiretapped calls, get personal messages, follow people around, etc) and worse, arrest and detain them without certain warrant. This Act could be abused by unrighteous authorities just like most of the laws implemented in this country. There’s a high possibility that many of the unsuspecting people to be under surveillance in the future would be journalists, reporters and other media practitioners because their task is to report the truth, and the truth does not always favor the government. And if this truth does not favor the government and its leaders then the government might think– or simply accuse them even without reason– that they are committing an act of terrorism or anything that could overthrow this country’s leaders. The Act can cause repression of the media because there might be less journalists, reporters and media practitioners who will be willing to risk their lives and reputation just so they could report what’s really happening in this country. All of us have the right to freedom of expression and just like what one of the speakers said (I forgot his name), “your rights are free when you can exercise it without any worries that the government might be after you”.” closed-quote.

 

 

8 thoughts on “terror teacher. notes of students on the terror law.

  1. The anti-terror law in its proponents view point is supposedly well meant and intended. It is a law which our elected Congressmen enacted “to protect life, liberty and property from acts of terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country … and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.” In this light, one may recognize this law to be beneficial to society as it serves as a watchdog to criminal elements and terroristic attacks. It provides security and protection to the state from militants who do not only strike fear but indiscriminately terrorizes civilians. If this is the real motive of the government then there should actually be nothing to be apprehensive about. However, the inconsistencies, ironies and its unconstitutional provisions cannot be easily overlooked.

    R.A. 9327 or Human Security Act of 2007, albeit its implementation continuously raise questions and doubts from the people. Its vague provisions certainly draw fear and panic especially from the people whom it could directly exploit. It is a law which undermines the Constitutional rights and ironically goes against the Bill of Rights where the freedom of expression is greatly valued. The phenomenon of “Chilling Effect” impact to society had started and would progressively grow with the proliferation of more killings and cases of abuse. It could already be distressing enough to think that persons merely suspected of engaging in terrorism may be arrested without warrant and detained without charges. This act is now perceived to be the most creative and strategic scheme to conceal the greater intention or “motive” of the government to trample one of the most essential basic right of its citizens.

    As future journalists, this law poses huge obstructs that would certainly impede in producing well researched and quality reports. It would threaten journalists being accused of conspiring or being an “accomplice”. In this being possible, it could be said that this is one dangerous law where warrantless arrest, invasion of privacy and preventive detention are just some of its liberties that when poorly handled would certainly lead to more terrorizing events. Section 7 and 8 states Surveillance of Suspects and Interception and Recording of Communications and Formal Application for Judicial Authorization. This now authorizes the police to “track down, tap, listen to, intercept, and record communications, messages, conversations, discussions, or spoken or written words of any person suspected of the crime of terrorism.” The consent to wire tap and be a subject to surveillance significantly affects the right to privacy of people not having the slightest idea when they are already being recorded and suspected as terrorists. It readily legitimizes something illegal just to “protect” the people. The life of a journalist could also be at high risk especially in dealing with his unidentified sources and confidential materials. All of these perils are glimpses of what our society would be experiencing in the next coming months with the extensive influence and power of this law now at hand.

  2. (unedited by blog administrator)

    Journalists as accessories to acts of terrorism? The Human Security Act seems to imply that idea. According to Sec.6 of the HSA, an accessory is “any person who, having knowledge of the commission of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism, and without having participated therein, either as principal or accomplice under Articles 17 and 18 of the Revised Penal Code, takes part subsequent to its commission in any of the following manner: (a) by profiting himself or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime; (b) by concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects, or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery; (c) by harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principal or conspirator of the crime.” The possibility that journalists would be accused of being accesories to terrorism is very strong because part of their job is to secure interviews with “terrorists” and other “enemies of the state” whenever and wherever possible. Of course, ethical journalists would not reveal “off-the-record” information (such as the location, confessions and/or plans of the “terrorists”) given by their interviewees in any of their news stories. The government, however, would certainly want to know such information and its officials would certainly try to make journalists reveal the confidential information that they got from the “enemies of the state.” If a journalist refused to comply, then he/she would be accused of concealing the “terrorists” and might be considered an accessory to acts of terrorism. The journalist may even suffer ten to twelve years of imprisonment if such accusation is proven (not counting the possible warrantless arrest and detention coming his/her way!). But what is the point of a journalist’s attempt to keep such confidential information under wraps? The HSA allows surveillance and wiretapping, anyway!

  3. (unedited by blog administrator)
    the recently implemented Human Security Act has been cosistently opposed by many because of a number of its conspicuous sections. Rather than it being the protection to the democracy of the country and the rights of the Filipino people, according to attorney Florin Hilbay, it sends a “chill to the expression of innocent speakers.” and this is a frightening fact that could impaire the free exercise of the rights of the people.

    the most dangerous provision according to atty. hilbay is section 8 where the anti-terror law “legitimizes fishing expeditions so long as you are suspected.” this clearly violates the right of the people to due process. Consequently, mere “wild guesses” of the police and military towards people expressing their free speech is legitimized. Also, detention of uncharged suspects of up three days is also legitimized by the HSA. this is again a significant departure of the right of the people to due process and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    clearly, the HSA has still a lot of loopholes that could cause the Filipino people their rights. its proponents and the president, if they are really devoted into protecting the people, should take a second look or even a third and fourth to review how the provisions of this law could ultimately affect the very foundation of democracy of the Philippines–the exercise of the rights of the Filipino people.

  4. J192
    (unedited by blog administrator)

    As future practitioners of the media, we are duty-bound to follow the law with regard to the proper practice of our field. But what if this law contradicts the freedom of expression entitled to us? Since the HSA has been implemented the ramifications are all but positive, especially from the mass media were it has been clearly asserted that the implemenation of the law is not just violation of human rights but of the freedom of expression (supposedly)granted to media practitioners.

    Recording of any form of communication between any person suspected of charged with the crime of terrorism (or even their accomplice) is now possible with a written order from the CA (as stated in Section 7). Whatever happened to the anti-wiretapping law? Plus it so contradicting that journalists can keep their sources confidential but the government can tap into the networks (cellphone or maybe even computers) of these journalists.

    For example, in covering stories reagrding the MILF or Abu Sayyaf, a journalist maybe accused of “conspiring” with these terrorists. The HSA should have undergone more revisions-scrutiny-study/review before it was implemented.

  5. (unedited by blog administrator)

    The Human Security Act of 2007 caused uncertainties and eyebrows to raise.With this law implemented, many peole will be affected, particularly journalists in their process of gathering news.
    Section 7 in particular authorizes law enforces and officials to listen, record and even intercept all types of communication which we know is the main way of journalists in getting information.
    If they can listen nad record conversations,it will lessen the secrecy of the exchange of information between the reporter and the source.It will also confine or restrict the reporter to “safe” questions and ways to get the facts of a news.The reporting of news will be in line to what the government would want to see, defeating the purpose of a journalist as a ‘watchdog’.
    This may happen because sec. 7 also states that they can authorize survaillance not only to those identified terrorists but to those “suspected” as well, which means anyone can be a “target” of survaillance.
    If they can listen and record conversations, then they can filter all “threatening” news about the government which will violate our rights to know the truth about our country.
    The Human Security Act should have been carefully reviewed before passed.

  6. (unedited by blog administrator)

    The implementation of Republic Act 9372, also known as the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007 poses a great threat to the freedom of the press as it directly violates Republic Act 53 (Shield Law) as amended by Republic Act 1477. HSA’s provisions such as the right to conduct surveillance upon mere suspicion, inluding the interception of private communication (e.g. hacking of e-mail accounts and wiretapping) does not conform with the Shield Laws provision to protect journalists and their sources through the confidentiality of their exchange of information. Because it says that journalists may not be compelled to reveal identity of his/her source except in matters of national security, it may be subjected to the probable abuse of HSA as the latter can proclaim that terrorism is a matter of national security. Therefore, the HSA can obstruct the privileges journalists. Also, provisions such as being guilty of terrorism by conspiracy may entitle journalists to accusations because of the course of their work. For example a journalist having contact with leftists groups or fugitives for his/her assignment can be accused of being an accesory to the crime if ever the group is suspected as a terrorist group.Thus, the Anti- Terror Law may affect the quality of journalism the media can give to people as it limits the freedom, for example, in gathering information. If the HSA creates this chilling effect, it might have really aimed to freeze press freedom for purposes which are beneficial to those behind it.

    Aside from the violation of freedom of speech and press feedom, the HSA violates most of the provisions stated in Article Three of the 1987 Constitution called the BIll of Rights. It is inconsistent with the right to travel, form associations, be issued an arrest warrant based on probable cause or proper accusation, bail, etc. Vague definitions of terms such as terrorism, unlawful demands and widespread extraordinary feel of panic are problem areas, too that can be subjected to possible abuse by authorities. Overall the implementation of the HSA is unconstitutional because it does not conform to the existing law. It still has to be reviewed as it only promotes the curtailment of the rights of the Filipinos, whom it intends to protect.

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