MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday urged US lawmakers not to interfere with the country’s affairs, saying they are no longer the country’s “colonial masters.”

In a virtual Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after at least 45 US lawmakers asked the national government to repeal the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

“Huwag na po kayo maghimasok. Hindi na po namin kayo colonial masters. Independienteng bansa na po kami (Don’t interfere. You’re no longer our colonial masters. We’re an independent country now),” he said.

He took note of the atrocities carried out by US troops against Filipinos during the Philippine-American war, particularly the Balangiga Massacre of Sept. 28, 1901.

“Bagamat nung sinakop po tayo, ‘yan po ang pinaka madugong bakbakan na nakita ng buong daigdig kung saan ang mga Amerikano ay talaga naman pong nilabag ang batas pag meron pong labanan. Pinatay ang lahat ng nakita nilang gumagalaw lalong lalo na sa mga lugar ng Samar (When we were colonized, it was one of the bloodiest events in the world where Americans violated laws. They killed everyone they saw moving, especially in Samar),” he said.

He said the fate of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 now lies in the hands of the Philippines’ Supreme Court (SC).

“Nasa Korte Supreme na po natin ‘yan. Hayaan po nating desisyunan ng Korte Suprema (It’s now with the Supreme Court. Let’s let them decide on its constitutionality),” he said.

Roque said there is no need for any interference because the country has a working judicial system.

“We have a working judicial system and we can rely on our judicial system to rule on the constitutionality of the anti-terror law,” he said.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or Republic Act (RA) 11479, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, repeals the Human Security of 2007.

At least eight petitions have been filed before the SC challenging the constitutionality of the law, warning that it may further erode human rights.

Earlier, Roque said the Palace will let the High Court decide on these petitions and will abide by whatever the ruling is.

No comment

In the same virtual presser, Roque refused to comment on the statement made by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria where he taunted Duterte’s claim that he had successfully dismantled oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.

“Wala pong komenta ang Palasyo sa mga salita ng terorista. Joma Sison, laos ka na (The Palace has no comment to words of a terrorist. Joma Sison, you are a has-been),” he said.

The self-exiled communist leader earlier called Duterte an oligarch himself, saying he was wrong in believing that he had ended the rule of oligarchs in the country.

In a speech aired Tuesday, Duterte said he dismantled the country’s oligarchy without declaring martial law.

He did not mention names, but his remarks came a few days after the Congressional panel voted to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise, permanently shutting down its operations.

Roque later clarified that Duterte referred to tycoons Lucio Tan, the Ayalas and Manuel V. Pangilinan who earned Duterte’s ire in the past due to some issues. (PNA)