We are all for the pursuit of peace and we condemn terrorism as a glaring obstacle to peace.
Republic Act No. 9372, dubbed as Human Security Act of 2007, signed into a law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 6, 2007, is to take effect two months after the elections of May 14.
Many voices are apprehensive about this law on the basis of constitutionality and provisions that may legalize objectionable methods of fighting and quelling opposition to the obtaining government. Hence there are calls for bringing the Human Security Act to the Supreme Court for review and for studying and discussing further this law in its contents and repercussions. Some sections have caused lawyers and others to question the effectiveness of this law such as:
· The definition of terrorism in Section 3 is broad and dangerous. It may serve and create a condition of widespread panic.
· Section 26 allows house arrest despite the posting of bail, prohibits the right to travel and to communicate with others.
· Provision for seizure of assets in Section 39 and surveillance or wiretapping of suspects in Section 7, investigation of bank deposits and other assets in Section 28 – raise up many eyebrows of lawyers and others.
Since we as pastors have to look more into the morality of this law and make a pronouncement in that level, we feel that the atmosphere created by this law and its impending implementations calls on us to appeal to those concerned to review this law so that in consultation and dialogue we may have a law that is truly relevant in promoting the security of the nation and in the pursuit of authentic peace.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
July 8, 2007