The Duterte administration can use the new law against terrorism to label the political opposition and cripple their chances in the 2022 elections, a human rights lawyer said.
Unlike the 2007 Human Security Act, the new Anti-Terrorism Act no longer contains the safeguard, which suspended the application of the law a month before and two months after an election, said lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno.
The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) can now, for instance, “designate” leftist party-list groups as terrorist organizations to give them a “really hard time” during the campaign, he said.
“Imagine you’re campaigning for a public office but you have to defend yourself from being branded as a terrorist,” he said on the “Facts First with Christian Esguerra” podcast.
“That could destroy your chances of winning any kind of elections.”