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This tweet admits the reason why a number of lawmakers have supported the #AntiTerrorBill and confirms the concerns and sentiments of those who oppose it--that it is to quell dissent toward the #DuterteKakistocracy and to clamp on free speech and the freedom of the press.
To begin with, all the countries mentioned in the senate president's tweet have either undergone oppressive governments under tyrants, registered poor ratings in free speech and press freedom, committed gross violations of human rights, or even banned religious freedom.
Thailand, for instance, had been ruled by men in uniform for 55 of the 83 years from 1932 to 2009. And it was ruled by a military junta from 2014 to 2019. Its politics also has a frammework of constitutional monarch. It may also be recalled that in 2007, a military
dictatorship abrogated Thailand's constitution. Also take note that the Thai king is protected by lèse-majesté laws, allowing for critics to be thrown into prison from three to 15 years. To be jailed just by exercising one's right to free speech, such as criticizing the
government, is one of the objectives of the #ATB, which #TitoSotto supports so avidly and passionately. #FreedomHouse, an organization that does research on democracy, political freedom, and human rights, has rated Thailand in its Index as "not free" since 2014.
The activist and journalist #Somyot was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2014, owing to lèse-majesté. He is a "prisoner of conscience," according to the political writer #PeterBenenson . If an individual is in jail for expressing his or her conscientiously held beliefs
and because of his race, sexual orientation, religion, or political views, he or she is a prisoner of conscience. Isn't this what the ruling administration, through the ATB, wants to do to the dissenters, such as those who were arrested at the UP campus in Cebu?
In #Indonesia, it was #Sukarno who'd moved the country toward authoritarianism from democracy. Maj. Gen. #Suharto led the army in 1975 to instigate a violent anticommunist purge, which killed up to 1 million people. He became president in 1968, but the 1997 Asian
financial crisis unmasked his corruption and suppression of political dissent, paving the way for the end of his presidency. Later, the world watched in horror as human-rights abuses inflicted by the Indonesian forces upon the people of #EastTimor were covered by the
international journalists when the now independent-nation of #TimorLeste seceded from Indonesia in 1999, following a 25-year occupation. In #Malaysia, where the head of state is commonly referred to as the king, human and sex trafficking are serious problems. In 2015,
Freedom House labeled Malayasia as "not free" based on the principle of the freedom of the press. #Singapore , meanwhile, continues to impose both caning and capital punishment as penalties for severe offenses. #ReportersWithoutBorders , an international NGO
that safeguards the right to information, this year ranked ranked Singapore 158th out of 180 nations in its #WorldwidePressFreedomIndex . The city-state, where sex trafficking is rampant, is also known as having restricted freedom of speech and freedom of the press,
as well as civil and political rights. It is known for its economic success, however, owing to its being one of the least corrupt countries in the world and of its system of meritocracy--things that can hardly be described of the Philippines,
especially its government. "Partly free" is how Freedom House has described Singapore in its #FreedomInTheWorld report. The city-state is also a "flawed democracy," according to the #EconomicIntelligenceUnit , the research and analysis division of #EconomistGroup .
For its part, the #AmnestyInternational said the Singapore system runs counter to the principle that anyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In the #Maldives, the 2018 crackdown following tensions between the #ProgressivePartyOfMaldives and the opposition was
an "assault to democracy," according to the #UN Human Rights. With #Islam as its official religion, the Maldives prohibits the practice of any other religions. This is contrary to Art. 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Art. 18 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a member. So, the countries that our senate president has listed on his tweet to help justify the passage of the ATB, ladies and gentlemen, all have significant problems in the form of either
corruption, a quelled free speech, a muzzled press, lack of religious freedom, and abuse and unequal treatment of women and the marginalized. I am not surprised. Are you? Please, help #JunkTerrorBillNow .
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