Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, in defense of the Anti Terrorism Act of 2020 said on ABS-CBN News Channel’s (ANC) Headstart last June 25: “The fear of abuse is not a valid reason to reject a bill outright. It is not a valid reason to reject needed legislation like the anti-terrorism bill because theoretically speaking, all laws can be abused, even social welfare laws that are very benign and charitable can be abused.”
But, if fear of abuse exists in the implementation of a law that seeks to prevent terrorism, then the more that law needs to be revised if not scrapped. Not only is it done out of context but it is also sowing terror when it is supposed to be anti-terrorism itself. In simple terms, the law is based not on realities — the real context, the capability of the implementers, and the will of the people that these legislators seek to represent. Instead, the proposed measure is based on an ideal setting which, unfortunately, is just imaginary.
Let us take Gene Macalalad’s experience showing a clear disconnect between a written guideline and a perceived one. Remember that the Anti-Terrorism Act is not yet operational when this happened.