Reinvent resistance at this turning point
The struggle for basic rights in our country can be compared to a “marathon run in the mud.” From the period of martial law imposed in the ’70s until today, which has been characterized by killings in our inner cities with impunity, we have stood together against the repressive reality and rhetoric in our midst.
In the face of the anti-terrorism bill, it is important to realize that once again the basic rights of our people to express ourselves, to dissent, and to associate freely — all enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution — are under threat.
Moreover, this legislative overreach reinforces the long-standing politics that exclude the more vulnerable in society. It is the disadvantaged and those who stand with them who will be the most probable victims of this policy that is open to abuse and the arbitrary application of ambiguous provisions.
It is apparent that under the present dispensation, not only manifested in the anti-terrorism bill but also in House Bill No. 78 that undermines Filipino ownership of vital public utilities such as telecommunications companies, the mindset and the actions of this government tend to violate the letter and the spirit of the 1987 Constitution, which was forged in the aftermath of the people’s overthrow of dictatorship and later reaffirmed in the ousting of foreign military bases in our national territory.
True to the reckless remarks of the President who has at least once derided our Charter, we stand foursquare against this alarming attitude and cavalier posture of our so-called leaders in setting aside provisions of the fundamental law of the land, undermining the respect for the rule of law.
We take this stand precisely in the midst of this para-pandemic period where we face the combined and intertwined health, economic, and climate crises that will be with us for some time to come.
There is, moreover, a moral meltdown in our politics here at home that mirrors the social unrest spreading across the United State due to the racist virus that has been endemic in American society since its founding. We need to convert this breakdown into a breakthrough in our societies.
Fellow citizens, our imperative is to reinvent resistance! In big and small ways, directly and indirectly, as well as virtually, young and old alike, we need to rise up and not be afraid. We need to be brave and breathe freely together.
This a turning point, and there can be no turning back.
Former senator Bobby Tañada and Prof. Ed Garcia
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