Reds orders new attack in reply to terror law

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — COMMUNIST leaders have ordered the New People’s Army to wage more attacks against the government in response to the landmark anti-terror law that came into force yesterday.

The Communist Party of the Philippines issued the order as it warned the government the new law would make it “impossible” to revive the stalled peace talks.

“In response to the [Human Security Act’s] enactment, the NPA will continuously intensify and wage more frequent tactical offensives nationwide,” the party said in its primer posted in its Web site, www.philippinerevol ution.net.

“Each tactical offensive will serve as a substantial contribution to punishing the Arroyo regime and its minions for masterminding and implementing political killings, terrorism and other atrocities against the people,” the party said.

It made the statement even as Malacañang said the new law needed no implementing rules and regulations—only a set of guidelines—to enforce it.

“When you have a law pertaining to criminal acts, you do not need implementing rules because the law itself is self-implementing,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

The guidelines aside, the government would also come up with a primer to answer questions on the new law’s salient features, he said.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez disputed some lawmakers’ claims that the law could not be enforced without implementing rules.

“The law is so clear, in fact, that [implementing rules] are not even a necessity because the law itself is the rule,” he said.

An official said the new law would provide greater assurance of public safety and increase investor confidence.

“Our vulnerability to terror attacks and other security loopholes are major concerns for foreign investors,” Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella said.

“All these fears will be eased by the implementation of [the new law],” he said.

About 500 militants took the Don Chino Roces Bridge near Malacañang yesterday to slam the new law amid fears it could be used to quell dissent.

“We will bring the case to the high court with the strong belief that the justices will protect civil liberties,” said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the leftist group Bayan Muna, which led the protest.

“We hope the high court can help the people defeat this terrible legal monstrosity calling itself the Human Security Act,” he said.

The influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, whose stand on public issues shapes public opinion in the largely Catholic country, last week also called on the government to review the law.

The bishops said they were concerned over a provision that lets police detain suspects for up to three days without a case being filed in court.

The CPP-NPA is expected to land in the anti-terror list that will be created now that the new law is in effect, but the communists warned they were prepared to pull out from the talks as a result of it.

“As soon as the Arroyo regime formally declares the CPP, NPA and the National Democratic Front as terrorists under the [new law], all agreements previously ratified in the process of the peace negotiations will be discarded,” the communists said.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the new law would not violate civil rights because it had 55 provisions dedicated to the protection of human rights.

“The law’s message is clear: If you are armed and kill civilians, you will be prosecuted. If you are a communist terrorist, religious terrorist or even a rogue element of our own police or military, you will be stopped,” Bunye said.