Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday addressing poverty and social injustices would not eradicate terrorism, adding it is an issue of fighting for ideology.
The senator remarked in his defense to the proposed Anti-Terror bill, which has controversial provisions including warrantless arrests and the abolition of the provision of the Human Security Act of 2007, which provides P500,000 damages per day to any terrorist suspect who is found to be innocent.
“Mali ‘yun [na dapat sugpuin ang kahirapan at kawalan katarungan sa paglaban ng terorista]. They want to live in a perfect world. Hindi naman ‘yun ang problema ng terorista eh. Ang problema ng terrorista, ideology. Ang tinatarget ng Anti-Terror bill ay yung ideolohiya na guluhin ang gobyerno,” Sotto said in an interview over Dobol B sa News TV.
(It’s wrong to think that ending poverty and injustice would fight terrorists. They want to live in a perfect world. That’s not the terrorists’ problem. Their problem is ideology. The Anti-Terror bill targets the ideology to disrupt the government.)
“Kahirapan ba’ yung [dahilan] sa Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, at mga terrorist organization as declared by the UN Security Council? 12 years na ang Human Security Act pero isa pa lang ang prosecution. 735 ang nakakulong sa Muntinlupa, pero murder, arson, at kung anu-ano ang kaso, kasi iniiwasan iyong Human Security Act kasi siguradong acquitted. Napakahina ng Human Security Act,” he added.
(Is this the reason for Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, and other terrorist organizations declared by the UN Security Council [to terrorize]? The Human Security Act has been 12 years, but the prosecution is still one. Seven hundred thirty-five were detained in Muntinlupa, but their cases are murder, arson, and whatever cases. They are avoiding the Human Security Act because, for sure, they would be acquitted. The Human Security Act is very weak.)
Sotto then reiterated that the Anti-Terrorism bill does not target those who criticize the government, which could be sued for libel or defamation instead.
“Dapat member ka ng terrorist organization. Member ka ba? Hindi pala eh, bakit ka umaangal? Kung hindi kayo member, magwala kayo, murahin niyo ang Presidente, laitin niyo kami, go ahead, hindi kayo kasama sa Anti-Terror law. Puwede libel, defamation, pero hindi sa Anti-Terrorism law,” Sotto said.
(You should be a member of a terrorist organization. Are you a member? No, then why are you complaining? If you are not a member, go beserk, curse the President, criticize us, go ahead, you are not included in the Anti-Terror law. It could be libel, defamation, but not Anti-Terrorism law.)
Sotto also said, “Activism is not Terrorism,” a mantra Anti-Terror Bill protesters use.