What Will Ateneans Do?

On Monday will be the State of the Nation Address by the President. But are Ateneans really concerned? Do they really care about what the President will say and do they even care about reacting on it?

It almost seems as though Ateneans are only concerned whether there will be classes or not. (“Free cut? Let’s watch a movie!”) While in another university, almost all the teachers are suspending classes to encourage the students to listen to the SONA and to participate in activities that aim to make stands and statements heard.

During the UAAP Basketball Finals last year, a television in the caf was used as a means for the students in the school to watch the Third Game between ADMU and UST. We wonder if it will again be used this time to bring to the students something more relevant…

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July 20, 2007 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

We Dare You to Evaluate

SONA

July 19, 2007 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Abrera’s Interpretation

HSA

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 16, 2007

Perhaps legitimizing extra-judicial killings?

July 19, 2007 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

On Karl’s Comment

Sanggunian President Karl Satinitigan commented at Gadfly Blogspot:

“It may be more sober if we encourage dialogue first before actually coming out with official statements, which have not been very effective in the past few years.

My personal opinion is that we’re barking on the tree if we constantly condemn the HSA and not soberly or constructively discuss our security issues with this administration.

Just a thought.
-Karl of Sanggu”

We in the Society do believe that Sanggunian’s task goes beyond releasing a statement that captures the sentiments of the student populace. We believe that for something as complicated (think broadly) as the HSA, it’s truly difficult to take a stand (except on the gray areas). But we think it is foremost the Sanggunian’s role to get the students involved in such a national issue. As many before me have stated, Sanggunian should not only be representative but also participatory, just like any form of democracy. We do believe those in Sanggunian know this more than we do. We just hope we don’t get stuck on debating whether a statement issued by the Sanggunian is contradictory or not to the sentiments of the (uninformed/under-represented) student body.

Again, it is not just the Sanggunian’s task to do all these. We are imploring the student organizations who claim to be socially relevant and enlightened to make their voices heard and their actions seen so that the whole student body may be spurred from inaction.

July 18, 2007 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

Fast-Paced Philippines

Every day, new events occur – bad or good. Last Sunday, the HSA was implemented. Yesterday, Hermogenes Esperon (AFP Chief) released a proposal for ceasefire between the Army and the Communists, which the Communist leaders rejected just today. Next week, the President will be giving her SONA. And on August 1, there will be 2007 Census of Population.

My point is: Events happen fast.

What is Ateneo’s response to all of these events?

It’s time to be more vigilant. It’s time to do more things. It’s time to involve the entire student body and to respond to the changing times and the issues that come with it.

July 17, 2007 at 6:10 am Leave a comment

More Statements

Human Security Act is inhumanInquirer
Last updated 03:20am (Mla time) 07/17/2007

We, the convenors of the Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network, as people of God called to raise the prophetic voice of the church against any policy that degrades the human person and to bring to light whatever untruths may cause injustice, hatred and division, would like to make known our position on the Human Security Act.

The church is and will always be the church of and for the poor. It is called to care and give hope to the marginalized and to the victims of injustice.

Committed to the doctrines and teachings of our faith; and believing in the human person as the primary revelation of God in the world — Jesus Christ Himself became man and one with us — we are firm in our objective to work for the promotion of human rights and to uphold human dignity. Because we believe in the sacredness of human life and all of Life itself, we lament the inhuman character of the Human Security Act (HSA) for the following reasons:

1. It criminalizes the act of demanding from government; it is an affront to freedom and equality because it penalizes anyone who expresses grievances. Free expression, which includes peaceful assembly, is the cornerstone of the social, political, economic and religious human person.

2. It is a clear declaration of authoritarianism and absolute power. It puts in danger anybody because it gives the arresting officer the power to define, in his own terms, the character of the offense the arrested is accused of. In short, “absolute” means “anybody.” This may be understood in the definition of “terrorism” in Sec. 3, Republic Act 9372, which is so broad that it is in effect a charge in itself and anyone can be arrested for anything he is doing.

3. It lumps together legal advocacy and incitement to criminal acts, as in the definition of an “unlawful demand.” Who determines an “unlawful demand”? The definition as stated in the HSA is constitutionally impaired.

4. It suppresses the rights of free speech, free press, assembly and redress of grievances by attaching to those rights the stigma of illegality; it declares that to demand from government can be unlawful. This will silence the people and make them totally submissive.

The HSA is deceptive. It distorts the meaning of freedom, which is intrinsic and innate in the human person. The HSA, therefore, should not be implemented. It should be declared unconstitutional.

BRO. GILBERT S. BILLENA, O.Carm, Inter-faith Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation Network (IFJPICNetwork),
intefaith_jpic@yahoo.com

***

Global peace network asks SC to nullify anti-terror law

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 11:18pm (Mla time) 07/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) The Philippine secretariat of a global peace network and a militant labor group have asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the anti-terror law, saying it’s flawed and without “cogent legal foundation.”

The Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc., together with lawyer Soliman Santos, told the high tribunal that the definition of terror acts in the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007 does not conform to the internationally accepted meaning of terrorism.

In their 31-page petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for injunctive relief, the petitioners said the anti-terror law, which took effect Sunday, is not meant to “protect people from terrorism.”

“If we refer to the full title of the HSA, it might only ‘secure the state’ but not ‘protect our people from terrorism’,” the petitioners added.

“The HSA covers only situations of ‘coercing the government.’ It omits international organizations from similar coercion. It does not cover a situation where the purpose is to intimidate or spread terror among the population,” they said.

“These flaws, especially in the definition of terrorism, leave the rest of the said Act with no proper or cogent legal foundation to stand on…despite sufficient human rights safeguards in the law,” they said.

They also asked the high court that “jurisprudential guidance be provided the legislative and executive branches of government as may be necessary for a reformulation of the anti-terrorism law with a definition of terrorism hewing closely to international legal developments, and likewise upholding human rights and the rule of law in combating terrorism.”

The law, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in March, allows detention of suspected terrorists without charge for three days and includes “rebellion or insurrection” among crimes considered terrorism.

The Militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement) in a separate petition asked the Supreme Court on Monday to declare as unconstitutional the anti-terror law, saying it violates several provisions of the Constitution.

It said the anti-terror violates the constitutional provision on unreasonable searches and seizures because the law allows arrests without court-issued warrant.

A substitute warrant is allowed under the HSA which is a written authority issued by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

“But the Anti-Terrorism Council is not the judge referred to in Section 2 Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution,” the labor group said.

The law also violates the constitutional provisions on the right to travel by placing an accused under house arrest, prohibiting the use of cellular phones, computers and other means of communication, KMU said.

The petitioners also said that law’s definition of terrorism is vague.

“What is extraordinary fear and how would we distinguish it from ordinary fear? Unfortunately the law fails to specify,” petitioners said.

“If a law defining a crime is so vague that a reasonable person of at least average intelligence could not determine what elements constitute the same, the said law may be invalidated for being unconstitutional,” the petitioners said.

Arroyo, one of Washington’s staunchest Asian allies in the war on terror, says the new law will be indispensable in stamping out the terrorists who target innocent people, discourage investors and have destroyed critical infrastructure like cell phone transmission towers.

But human rights groups have condemned the new law, and even the influential Roman Catholic Church has called for a review of sensitive provisions that could curtail rights and invade privacy, including one that allows court-authorized wiretapping of suspects.

Petitioner Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network Inc. is the Philippine secretariat of the South-South Network for Non-State Armed Group Engagement.

July 17, 2007 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

What Will Ateneo Do?

Sanggunian, Matanglawin, Guidon, Ateneo Debate Society, The Assembly, and everybody else..

WHAT WILL ATENEO DO?

July 16, 2007 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

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