Press Release
August 13, 2019

Drilon opposes revival of anti-subversion law

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon expressed strong opposition to the revival of the anti-subversion law, saying that it will violate basic Constitutional rights.

"I will strongly oppose any attempt to revive the Anti-Subversion Law in the same manner that I am extremely against the reimposition of the Death Penalty Law," Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

"First, they want Congress to revive the death penalty. Now, they want us to resurrect the anti-subversion law. Is this how we want this Congress to be remembered?" Drilon asked.

"We do not want this Congress to be remembered for resurrecting more 'dead' laws instead of formulating sound policies that will address the country's present problems," Drilon said.

"Mukhang humahaba po yata ang listahan ng mga patay na batas na gusto nating buhayin," Drilon quipped.

A former justice secretary, Drilon explained that to revive the anti-subversion law would violate the Constitutional right of a person to freedom of assembly and association.

"The anti-subversion law was 'buried' a long time ago for it was proven that such a policy, aside from being prone to abuse and a tool to harass, undermined some of our basic Constitutional rights," Drilon said.

Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution states: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."

Drilon said that the anti-subversion law, which was implemented decades ago until it was repealed in 1992, outlawed mere affiliation with a group, attending a meeting or taking part in any activity meant to overthrow the government.

Mere membership in any organization is not a crime, Drilon stressed.

The Anti-Subversion Law would also violate the equal-protection clause of the Bill of Rights, he added, referring to the provision of the Constitution against undue favor and individual or class privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the oppression of inequality against one class or organization.

Drilon said that there are enough laws that can help authorities to address terrorism and provide adequate protection to the State, such as the Human Security Act (RA 9372). RA 9372 imposes stiffer penalties to a lengthy list of acts of terrorism.

"We should not make it as an excuse to always blame the inefficiencies in our laws, proven or otherwise, for our failure to discharge our duty," he concluded.

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