ABS-CBN franchise hearings resume today, Monday, at the House of Representatives amid the backlash of the public against Congress on the swift passage of the proposed “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020,” more commonly known as the Anti-Terror Bill. For days, both media and the Internet have been buzzing with the hashtag #JunkTerrorBillNow. What is sad about this movement is that nearly everyone who posted against the bill has not even read or understood the contents of the Anti-Terror Bill. It is obvious that people are merely “bandwagon protestors” on an important topic they know nothing of.
And who are responsible for swaying the masses? None other than your beautiful and influential stars of the Kapamilya network, ABS-CBN. The idea here is to discredit the House of Representatives, so that the public will not side with the House members during the hearings. After all, who would the public rather believe — an ageing and toupee-wearing Deputy Speaker Dante Marcoleta, or It’s Showtime host Anne Curtis, darling of the media, and who commands millions of social media followers?
Anne Curtis, for instance, posted on Instagram that she read the bill. She even included the link to the Committee Report of the House bill on its website. While we are unable to determine if she truly understood the Anti-Terror Bill, her fans couldn’t care any less. Other celebrities also shared their thoughts, such as Bea Alonzo, Angel Locsin, Kathryn Bernardo, Liza Soberano, and the list goes on. What is common among them? They are all under contract with ABS-CBN.
The ABS-CBN propaganda machine is hard at work. Now that its stars have mobilized their blind followers, they expect politicians to come pleading for the Kapamilya celebrities to go easy, and the Lopezes would have an upper hand in the negotiations for its franchise.
Terrorism is a real threat. There is wisdom in the President’s certification that this bill is urgent and must be passed immediately. Government information on national security is highly classified, and the people should not second-guess the intentions of the government. And if the people can read the provisions carefully, they would realize that nothing should be of concern.
In Section 4 of Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 6875, it is clearly stated that terrorism “shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights, which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create a serious risk to public safety.”
To simplify, expressions of opinions and disagreements are not terrorist acts. Strikes and rallies are also not terrorist acts. Acts that pertain to the exercise of one’s free speech are not terrorist acts.
Peaceful assembly is not a terrorist act. Self-organization is also a recognized right and is not a terrorist act. And when we refer these acts, it includes those done physically at the streets and those done online.
What is terrorism then? These are acts intended to cause death or bodily injuries, extensive damage or destruction to public or private properties, extensive interference, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure, and acts that involve the development or possession of explosives or other weapons, release of dangerous substances, or causing fire, floods or explosions when the purpose is to intimidate the general public, create an atmosphere of fear, create a public emergency or serious undermine public safety, among others.
The only shortcoming of the government, if any, is that it was not extensively deliberated in the House because of its certification as urgent by the President, coupled with the fact that Congress was scheduled go on recess last Saturday, 6 June. However, the same bill has undergone tremendous deliberations in the Senate where it was passed on third reading as early as last February. Out of all the senators, only Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan voted “No,” while the rest, including Sen. Franklin Drilon, voted “Yes” to the Anti-Terror Bill.
So, it is false to say that the bill did not undergo intense scrutiny by Congress because it passed the Senate. The leftist Makabayan Bloc of the House, unhappy they did not get their turn, ignited the fire on social media that was picked up by the stars of ABS-CBN. So, here we are in the media frenzy meant to destroy the credibility of the House with the ABS-CBN franchise at stake.
Just as this paper wrote last week, ABS-CBN’s plan is to bully Congress with its propaganda offensive. We are now seeing it unfold before our eyes.