Religious superiors in the Philippines have urged the Supreme Court to “stand by the common good” and decide against the controversial anti-terror law.
In a statement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said that they are “deeply saddened by the signing of the Anti-Terror Law which takes effect 15 days from now.” The bill was signed into law on Friday, July 3, the same day the Philippines reached 40,000 coronavirus cases. (Read: PH Overtakes Singapore, China in Most Cases in Western Pacific Region)
The AMRSP further said that they welcome petitions to void provisions of the controversial law. The group is one of the most influential religious organizations and consists of the heads of the country’s religious organizations that run most of the country’s top universities and institutions.
“We trust that the good women and men of the highest court of the land will be guided by the common good of all and by the Philippine Constitution,” the group said. They added that “truth, justice, and peace will prevail.” (Read: Church Leaders Unite To Take Stand Against Anti-Terrorism Law)
On Friday, July 3, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Anti-Terrorism Act after it was approved by Congress. Many Filipinos decry the signing as the new law is vague and “subject to abuse.” (Read: Anti-Terror Bill: Beauty Queens Urge Filipinos to Speak up, Be Informed)
“In light of faith, we cannot in conscience accede to a law that may assault human dignity and human rights,” read the group’s statement. “At a time that our people are battling the effects of COVID-19, we find no reason to pass a law that does not serve to alleviate their miserable plight.”
“Unemployment, the closure of businesses, the continuing spread of the virus, and the lack of relief for our people are the most pressing concerns at this time,” it added. (Read: Caritas PH on Anti-Terror Bill: ‘Activism is not Terrorism’)
Jesuit priests and La Salle brothers banded together to warn the public of how the law could be used to oppress sectors of society.
The country’s business groups, including the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines, said that the law is unnecessary and that the Duterte administration should focus on the economic recovery of the country from the COVID-19 pandemic.