Bacolod Bishop Most Rev. Patricio A. Buzon called on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to immediately veto the Anti-Terrorism Bill “for want of a wider consultation that will hopefully hurdle the opposing perspectives, answer the questions, and to put to rest the confusion haunting it,” in a statement released on June 12, 2020, the Independence Day of the Philippines.
While convinced of the difficulties and security threats terrorism has come to pose, the Diocese also believes that peace and order may be achieved by means which “recognize and are respectful of basic human rights.”
Bishop Buzon stressed that there is no point in rushing the legislation process, especially that a growing number of legal experts have expressed their reservations in some of its provisions which were described as vague.
In particular, it was not properly defined what terrorism is, nor was the limits of the powers of the Anti-Terrorism Council, as well as the ‘judicial determinations’ in making arrests and length of detention.
With more and more legislators retracting their support of the bill due to public uproar, the Diocese feels all the more the need for the government to hear the voice of the people especially in legislative matters which directly affect the constituents.
Consequently, the Diocese hopes that the bill be reconsidered and re-assessed in its present form.
The Diocese believes that it is its prophetic role to speak up when called for and to continually listen in faith so as to “uphold the sanctity of life and the rights of every individual accompany and safeguard it so that every person lives life in its fullness.”