Press Release
July 5, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the senators will insist on the adoption of safeguards that will prevent abuse of human rights before they can agree to the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.

Pimentel said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos certification will not stampede the Senate into approving the controversial measure.

He said the senators, especially from the opposition bloc, will scrutinize the bill and try to introduce amendments that will protect the rights of the people against possible abuse of power that may arise as a result of the approval of this legislation.

Even as some of us recognize the need to adopt a new law to combat terrorism, we also believe that the rights of our people must never be sacrificed in the name of the fight against terrorism, Pimentel said.

We cannot fight terrorism by using terror methods. It is important that even as we commit to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, we do not use terrorist methods to do so. Democracy has an adequate arsenal to combat terrorism according to the rule of law and the Constitution. That is what we, in the opposition, wish to do.

Earlier, Pimentel admitted that opposition legislators were having second thoughts about approving the administration-sponsored Anti-Terrorism Bill, in the wake of rampant human rights violations committed by the military and police, as graphically illustrated by the warantless arrest and torture of five followers of former President Joseph Estrada.

He said the senators will not be inclined to pass the measure unless the authorities would show determination and sincerity in preventing extra-judicial killings, illegal abduction of political dissenters and other repressive acts that are the earmarks of dictatorial rule and militarization.

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