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TWO CRIMES are alleged to have been committed in 2004 during the election period: (1) Multiple violations of the Anti-Wire Tapping Law by those who actually recorded certain private phone conversations between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Commission on Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and many others, that came to be known as the "Garci tapes"; and
(2) Multiple violations of the Omnibus Election Code by a massive vote-rigging operation involving a large network of other Comelec functionaries, government officials, operators, and other conspirators.
Both of these two crimes could be investigated and prosecuted without any reference or reliance whatsoever on the existence of the other!
Either of them, if proven, could result in the resignation, impeachment or outright ouster of the President.
Each of them constitutes its own constellation of participants and particular criminal acts which ought to be investigated purely and solely on its own demerits.
Elements of the first crime are alleged to be elements in aide of the commission of the second complex of crimes, because cellphone communications were used in the purported voterigging operations. But to try to prove the allegations in the second complex crime, before even establishing the existence of the first crime is not a wise or indeed feasible thing to do.
The first crime is a much simpler crime, because it certainly involved far fewer perpetrators, and hypothetically limited to the ranks of the Intelligence Service of the AFP and Malacanang Command and Control handlers. Establishing a violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law by such suspects, does not depend on proving that the contents of the conversations being recorded in turn prove criminal wrong doing in the second set of crimes. It only depends on showing that they did not have a lawful Court Order to undertake the recording of conversations between designated private parties and that they were not ordered to do so by their Commander in Chief because she did not trust Garcillano as far as the nearest cell-site. But if they were so ordered by Lawful Authority, then that Lawful Authority would likewise be accused of violations of the Anti-Wire Tapping Law. Even if the conversations therein contained were totally innocent of complicity in the second set of crimes.
The sky would be falling on Garci instead of devastating the House of Representatives if only the focus would first be put on prosecuting the first set of crimes above. The predicate for that has already been laid by the Palace itself, by Ignacio Bunye himself, that there exist certain illegally wiretapped conversations to which the very President has admitted participating. Even if we grant her insistence that these conversations were totally innocent and not even unique among the candidates running last year, the persons who tapped her conversations are still liable for it. If she was one of those persons then she should be charged for violations of the Anti-Wire Tapping Act, and not voterigging. Yet. Only then can connections be made to the larger constellation of crimes that constituted vote-rigging, of which perhaps the conversations were but a small part of the total activity in that operation.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gilbert Remulla, who belongs to the Majority Coalition in Congress seemed to be almost in tears when he was discussing the stripping of his chairmanship of the Committee on Public Information with Carmina Constantino of ANC/TV last night. And Carmina probably wanted to hand him a hankie already and to blow it out because she was clearly frustrated at this whole thing and disgusted at the vision of pusillanimity before her. But his point was deadly serious. "Why," he asked rhetorically, "are they messing with a small thing like the Committee on Public Information?"
Well it's all to do with the Supreme Court case filed by the Untouchable, Unseeable, the Amazing Virgilio Garcillano, who flings the filthy Warrant of Arrest for Contempt of the House of Representatives against him upon the desk of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and demands that the Supreme Court void it because it constitutes grave abuse of discretion [sic!].
What one is witnessing here is the towering and ever-growing vindictive hubris which has apparently seized the War Room at Malacanang Palace. But more importantly, it looks like the Palace is bent on preparing a nice quicksand trap for the next Impeachment Attempt in June 2006, by indeed "closing the book" on Garci. The Congress of Little Minds has surrendered the House of the People to the Palace for demolition at the Supreme Court.
It is just one last service from the retiring Chief Justice, -- to dig the grave of the next Impeachment attempt -- before he becomes the next to the next Ombudsman, as one of his fans predicts. This is purportedly to give him 7 more years of Constitutional immunity in a society where criminal and civil lawsuits are a post-occupational hazard, especially at the highest levels.
Check out Ricky Carandang's Update on the Garci Case.
CAVEAT: I think Garci has just UNWITTINGLY authenticated the Garci tapes! Not their contents but the fact that they are authentic sound recordings of certain conversations that actually took place. Only he and the participants in those conversations can possibly perform such a direct authentication
THEREFORE, even if he is arguing against the VOTERIGGING charges, he has unwittingly TURNED STATE WITNESS in a possible criminal suit against PERSONS STILL UNKNOWN who are guilty of having wiretapped Virgilio Garciliano. This time it is Garci himself making that accusation!
WHO INDEED ORDERED AND EXECUTED THE WIRETAPPING?
Garci is the "victim" in that crime, even if later on he turns out to be the perpetrator in the conspiracy to voterigging. I think this may be the most damaging turn of events for the Palace since Bunye held up two CDROMs and ignited this whole sordid affair. MLQ3 keeps a good place to think about this sort of thing more.
Why in the world would VIRGILIO GARCILLANO be afraid for his life?
Ricky Carandang Reports on an impression garnered from talking to Mrs. Grace Garcillano. (posted at 20:20)
(20:50) Garci's Atty. Tamondong just told Pinky Webb that his client will not dignify or take notice of the tapes because they are "unlawful materials". I think he is right about that! He is right to claim, as I have, that Garci is the "victim" of an illegal wiretapping operation. But Garci & Tamondong cannot have it both ways. Garci cannot then make denials of the sort that seem to argue from a knowledge of the particular conversations that just happen to have fallen into the PUBLIC DOMAIN. He cannot argue against the VOTE-RIGGING CASE using information from "unlawful materials" at the same time. But he can be called as a witness in an Anti Wiretapping case entitled People vs. Sgt. Vidal Doble. (Oh! And Rep. ALAN PETER CAYETANO proves once more that the GENE POOL has definitely NOT run out.) The whole interview of Garci by Henry Omaga Diaz will be played exclusively on ABSCBN network's All News Channel (ANC) tonight at 10:00pm Manila time...This is an Archipelago of enduring pathos didn't you know? Hmm, where are those recordable DVD disks of mine?
(2150) I wonder who the Chairman and CEO of ABSCBN -- Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is burning up the Hotline Cellphone with just ten minutes before the Return of Garci is shown in full at 27 2200 November "OTEL" Manila time?
(2240) YES! My DVD Recorder worked like a charm. I have a beautiful 24 minute clip of the Return of Garci. I think I'm gonna watch it a couple times, read his lips carefully and body language, capture some audio maybe, do a little Fourier Transform Spectroscopy on Garci's voice in my DVD from Henry Omaga Diaz, and do a little correlation analysis with some MP3s I downloaded a couple of months back from PCIJ. And yes Alan Peter Cayetano, you are absolutely right, the Palace and Garci don't understand something very subtle but very devastating about modern digital technology and what that means for the Anti Wire Tapping Law and those who violate it. More tomorrow, it's getting late. The shark is in the pen. Who will close the trap?