Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has strongly criticized United Nations Special Rapporteur Irene Khan for her call to repeal the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in the Philippines. Khan expressed concerns about these laws during a press conference on February 2, stating that they threaten freedom of expression in the country, despite the constitutional guarantee of this right.
In response, Senator Go released a statement defending Republic Act (RA) 11479, also known as the “Anti-Terrorism Act,” and RA 10175, the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.” He emphasized that these laws were enacted to address the challenges and threats posed by terrorism and cybercrime, with the primary goal of protecting the Filipino people and promoting national security.
Contrary to Khan’s assertions, Senator Go clarified that these laws were not intended to suppress freedom of expression. Instead, they aim to safeguard the Filipino people from the enemies of the state and lawless elements who exploit cyber platforms to spread misinformation, recruit members, plan attacks, and commit crimes.
Senator Go firmly urged Khan to refrain from interfering in Philippine affairs, emphasizing that she should focus on fulfilling her mandate as a UN rapporteur rather than aligning herself with groups or individuals with a political agenda against the government and its policies. He emphasized the importance of fairness, objectivity, and respect in her work to maintain her credibility and legitimacy as a UN rapporteur.
Senator Go highlighted the existence of constitutional processes and democratic mechanisms in the Philippines to ensure that these laws are implemented with due respect for human rights and the rule of law. He assured the public that these laws have built-in safeguards and mechanisms to prevent abuse or misuse.
Furthermore, the senator emphasized that if there is a need to amend or repeal any law, the Senate and the House of Representatives have oversight functions to thoroughly study the possibility and take appropriate action. This demonstrates the commitment of the Philippine government to continuously evaluate and improve legislation when necessary.
Senator Go underscored the importance of RA 11479 and RA 10175 in combating terrorism and cybercrime, both of which pose significant threats to the country’s national security and public order. These laws provide the necessary legal framework to address these challenges effectively.
In conclusion, Senator Bong Go defended the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 against the criticism of UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan. He emphasized that these laws were enacted to protect the Filipino people from the threats of terrorism and cybercrime, and they are not intended to suppress freedom of expression. The senator highlighted the existing safeguards and mechanisms in place to prevent abuse or misuse of these laws. He also expressed the government’s commitment to democratic processes, including the oversight functions of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Source: The Manila Times