Left-leaning groups can be considered terrorists if there is evidence to prove that they are affiliated with terror groups, Malacañang warned on Monday.
“Depende po ‘yan sa ebidensya. Kinakailangan na mapakita na sila po’y kabahagi, kaalyado ng isang grupo na classify na po as terrorist groups,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
Roque said only terrorists will feel anxious about the country’s new anti-terror law.
Roque made the statement after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that those who thing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 threatens human rights probably support terrorists.
“I will phrase it differently: terrorists, beware of the anti-terror law,” Roque said.
“Pero ‘yung mga hindi naman po terorista, huwag po kayong mag-alala, sapat sapat po ang mga safeguards sa batas mismo at sa ating umiiral na Rules of Court para pangalagaan po ang karapatan ng kalayaan at karapatang mabuhay.”
On the other hand, Roque said that criticism of the government is not a crime under the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“It is expressly provided in the law that it is not,” he said.
Roque issued the statement amid petitions filed with the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the new law as critics questioned the process by which individuals and groups are designated and officially declared as terrorists and the definition of terrorism, among others.
Under the new law, individuals, group of persons, organizations, or associations designated and/or identified by the United Nations Security Council as a terrorist, one who finances terrorism, or a terrorist organization or group shall automatically be considered terrorists.
The law also states that only the court can declare any group of persons, which commits acts of terrorism, as a terrorist and outlawed organization./Stacy Ang