Press Release
February 7, 2007

Transcript of Senator Roxas
Explanation of Vote Against Anti-Terrorism Bill

Mr. President:

In my reading of the Analects of Confucius, there is a portion there where Confucius we must be very careful how we define a problem because that problem definition will likewise define the proposed solution to that problem.

In this instance, Mr. President, there is the problem of global terrorism, which no one deny exists; it wreaks havoc; it kills and maims peoplethe innocents in particular. However, Mr. President, I voted in the negativeI voted noto the passage of this measure because I do not believe that the weakest link in our battle against terrorism lies in our not having an appropriate law to combat terrorism.

Mr. President:

We cannot defend our liberty by forsaking freedom.

Mr. President, dear colleagues, we cannot be more secure if our civil liberties are less secure.

In our countrys battle against terrorism, Mr. President, we note, for example, that the very basic . . . very back-to-basic-sort of items that otherwise would have been in our cover, in our tool box against terrorism, are not in place.

The computers, for example, of one agency, such as the Bureau of Immigration, do not speak with the computers of the NBI, or with the computers of the agency that issues and monitors drivers licenses, or those of the PNP, or AFP.

It would seem to me, Mr. President, that theseattending to thesematters; these of having the computers speak to one another, the appropriate training of our people; the providing of equipment for forensics, and for law enforcement all across the country, will have much greater impact and thus contribute to a much greater success to our battle against terrorism.

Mr. President, in my work here in the Senate, I always use as standard what I would do if faced with this problem. In this instance, Mr. President, I do not believe that the passage of a law that curtails civil liberties is what we need to be able to address terrorism. It might make a contribution here and there but certainly, the damage that it does would certainly be much worse than whatever meager or marginal contribution that it will make.

Mr. President, the battle is always constant, as between the citizens civil liberties and the governments right to protect and defend the State. And in that seesaw, in that battle of rights of the citizens versus the State defending itself, it is always important that we strike the appropriate balance. In this instance, Mr. President, without having appropriately and effectively addressed all of the other issues with respect to training, computers, with respect to all other elements necessary for an effective battle against terrorism, then simply passing a law that reduces civil liberties in the hope that it will become an effective tool is not correct.

And so therefore, I vote NO against the measure.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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