BANGKOK — The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to reject two draft bills to undo orders issued by the 2014 coup leaders.
Two very similar bills were both overwhelming rejected during the votes. The first, led by former elected-senator Jon Ungphakorn was backed by 12,609 signatures. It was rejected by 234 votes against 162 votes. Three MPs abstain from voting and one refused to vote. The second draft bill, submitted by former secretary general of now-disbanded Future Forward Party Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, was rejected by 229 to 157 votes with four abstentions and two refusing to vote.
Yingcheep Atchanon, a program manager at iLaw, a law reform advocacy group, represents the first draft bill initiative. He said on the phone Wednesday afternoon after the votes that he was disappointed that MPs did not deliberate the bills and went straight to vote. “It shows that the house can vote with caring. No reason was posited before they vote.”
Yingcheep said over a hundred orders issued by the junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), remain legally binding despite the disbandment of the NCPO itself. Yingcheep said order Number 3/2015 allows for designated military officers to detain people without charge for up to seven days. “Technically this power can still be exercised despite the fact that the junta no longer exists,” Yingcheep points out.
Another junta order, NCPO Order Number 41/2016 empowers the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to ban broadcast media and punish them without being held accountable, said Yingcheep, adding that it’s still possible to restart the process to void junta orders anew in the future.