Plans are afoot to bring back the long dead Anti-Subversion Act that became law 62 years ago. The military, the police and the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) are asking Congress to do just that on the argument that its re-enactment — it was repealed in 1992 during the Fidel V. Ramos presidency —will enable the Duterte regime to defeat the New People’s Army (NPA) and destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that commands it.
Every tyranny has used fear and hate to take power and to keep it. Coercion and the use of force have never been enough. A gun can only kill, but fear can make entire nations tremble, and hate lead them into committing the worst of crimes.
Adolf Hitler used anti-Jewish sentiments to stoke German fears so effectively he convinced even learned men, among them the philosopher Martin Heidegger, that their country and Western civilization itself were on the verge of annihilation and needed a strongman to save them. German fears for the future found in the Jews of Europe a convenient target of hate, and a “problem” that required a “final solution.”
Like the American invasion and conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, the Duterte watch has been as bloody and as blundering.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) complaint of sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, obstruction of justice and harboring a criminal against lawyers, priests, Vice President Leni Robredo and several opposition candidates for senator last May is likely to make it to the courts. If it does, it will be one more instance critics of the Duterte regime can cite to validate their view that only an international body can check human rights abuses in the Philippines because the justice system is not working as it should.
The Parliament of Singapore passed last May a law against uploading and spreading false information. It requires online media platforms any government ministry accuses of carrying “fake news” to correct or remove the offending material, and penalizes those responsible with 10-year prison terms and fines of up to one million Singapore dollars (about US$740,000). The bad news is that the Philippine Congress could do the same thing.