Philippine anti-terror law threatens civil liberties

July 17, 2007

The Human Security Act, a new law in the Philippines that allows arbitrary use of state machinery to fight terror, seriously undermines the country’s constitutional protection for civil liberties, argues Florin T. Hilbayin in a commentary published on the Inquirer.net on 15 July 2007.

Hilbay, a law professor at the University of the Philippines, outlines the dangerous implications of the law that criminalises the sowing and creation of “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to the unlawful demand”.

Among others, in allowing punishment for “conspiracy to commit terrorism”, the law can be easily abused to curb dissenting speech. As well, a new tool – the warrant of surveillance – which allows the authorities to spy on terror suspects based on their mere hunch, is a clear infringement of privacy.

Read Hilbay’s objections in full here.