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Sotto: Addressing poverty, injustices, won't solve terrorism

Terrorism cannot be eradicated by addressing poverty and social injustices, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday.

Sotto made the response in defending the proposed Anti-Terror bill which drew flak mainly due to the provision allowing detention of suspected terrorists from 14 to 24 days and removal of P500,000 a day penalty for authorities who detained a suspect eventually acquitted of a terrorism charge.

“Mali ‘yun [na dapat sugpuin ang kahirapan at kawalan katarungan sa paglaban ng terorista].  They want to live in a perfect world. Hindi naman ‘yun ang problema ng terorista eh. Ang problema ng terrorista, ideology.  Ang tinatarget ng Anti-Terror bill ay yung ideolohiya na guluhin ang gobyerno,” Sotto said in an interview over Dobol B sa News TV.

“Kahirapan ba ‘yung  [dahilan] sa Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, at mga terrorist organization as declared by the UN Security Council? 12 years na ang Human Security Act pero isa pa lang ang prosecution. 735 ang nakakulong sa Muntinlupa, pero murder, arson, at kung anu-ano ang kaso, kasi iniiwasan iyong Human Security Act kasi siguradong acquitted. Napakahina ng Human Security Act,” he added.

He then reiterated that the Anti-Terror bill does not target government critics, who can be sued for libel or defamation instead.

“Dapat member ka ng terrorist organization. Member ka ba? Hindi pala eh, bakit ka umaangal? Kung hindi kayo member, magwala kayo, murahin niyo ang Presidente, laitin niyo kami, go ahead, hindi kayo kasama sa Anti-Terror law. Puwede libel, defamation, pero hindi sa Anti-Terrorism law,” Sotto said.

In closing, Sotto hit the protesters’ mantra “Activism is not Terrorism.”

“Hindi naman talaga terrorism ang activism. Sinong gago na nagsabi na activism is terrorism?” Sotto said.

When protesters gathered in the UP Diliman campus last week to call for the junking of the Anti-Terrorrism bill, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator Margaux “Mocha” Uson posted a photo of protesters on her Twitter account and called it a gathering of terrorists.

She later deleted the said post. —AOL, GMA News