Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Only the Opposition Can Save GMA

After watching yesterday's continuing debacle in the House, the title for today's post floated right up to me: IT'S THE WIRETAPPING, STUPID! But I realized a more diplomatic approach might work since they can't possibly be feeling any more stupid than they do right now. My firm, amateur advice to the Opposition is to read R.A. 4200 The Anti-Wiretapping Law as if there were no elections at all in 2004. Pretend as if all that has happened is Marietta Santos' testimony. Apply strictly the Letter and the Spirit of the Law that was Tañadas' genius in R.A. 4200. Prosecute the crimes that are in RA4200 as if the Garci Tapes exist but are so garbled we can only make out the identities of the conversants, not their speech. If this is done, grievous offenses against the Principle of National Security may be uncovered. It might or might not be proven along the way that there was a massive voterigging operation. But if the Palace and/or its supporters are proven to be guilty of ordering and using the wiretapping without a valid Court Order -- that would be enough to cause a Regime Change. Congress should take action to secure the standing of the Garci tapes as a body of evidence that acts of treason and offenses against national security have been committed, with reasonable suspicion that ISAFP was involved. It must utilize R.A.4200's mechanism for possessing, copying, publishing and using "illegally wiretapped recordings" by applying for a Court Order to do so. Get rid of the idea that Court Orders under RA 4200 can only be used to authorize a FUTURE wiretapping. No! That interpretation is understandable but incomplete. RA 4200 allows for Court Orders to make it LAWFUL to use ILLEGALLY WIRETAPPED recordings as evidence of crimes against national security in Section 3. For that is exactly what happens in the conventional case of applying for a Court Order to tap a spy. Except in Gloriagate, the "spy" is the one who made the illegal recordings. The People, however, cannot make LAWFUL use of those ILLEGAL RECORDINGS without a COURT ORDER, even today. That is what Garci's Second Petition before the Supreme Court is all about. A prayer to BURY THE GARCI TAPES.

If Garci's Second Petition is granted by the Davide Court, that will be the end of the Second Impeachment next year.

A key concept in RA 4200 -- which arose from the civil libertarian philosophy of its author -- is that it makes all acts of wiretapping and mere possession and use of wiretapped materials UNLAWFUL by default. That is what Sections (1) and (2) are all about. That default condition is what presents a mental blindspot for many. Many cannot seem to argue around the CLAIM of Garci and the Palace from the very beginning that because these are APPARENTLY illegally wiretapped recordings, they cannot be used for ANY purpose. It's a blind spot because the last statement is literally TRUE, unless there is a Court Order making acts that are by default unlawful, LAWFUL. Section (3) of RA 4200 provides the mechanism by which Section (1) and (2) acts are made LAWFUL, ie, by the mechanism and procedure defined in Sections 3, 4, and 5. In my opinion, all Congress has to do in order to make LAWFUL the USE of the ILLEGALLY RECORDED Garci Conversations, is to convince a Court of Law that it has the LEGAL RIGHT to do so under R.A. 4200, not the Omnibus Election Code as Congress has so wrongly tried to do. I don't think RA 4200 has even been debated or considered in detail during these hearings. But there's an awful lot of talk about election returns and COCs and voterigging based on a few suggestive snatches -- valuable no doubt for propaganda purposes -- but wholly ignorable by the unelected Judges of the Supreme Court when next they rule in Garci's favor. Because the Congress just ignores the DYNAMITE that is in RA 4200.


TEDDY BOY LOCSIN: You may be too smart for the People's own good.

ROILO GOLEZ: Saludo, mon Capitan! But there was no need to get exactly paired exemplars for voiceprint analysis. It was a great attempt. Single words in large quantity are enough. Enough is in the can to scientifically pin down Garci and the others as participants in the conversations. But even IF that were to be proven, it would not constitute admissible evidence if the Supreme Court grants GARCI's SECOND PETITION. Besides, RA4200 is violated no matter what the contents of the conversations were, whether innocent or sinister, it is a "content neutral" prohibition on wiretapping without a Court Order.

CHIZ ESCUDERO: Don't be afraid to lose to Davide again. You are in the Right this time. You may lose your Faith in the Law, but you must never lose faith in yourself.

ALAN PETER CAYETANO: Faith is a powerful force, and it is STRONG in you. Pray over the nation and preach our deepest held values, values above even that of the Constitution. But come down to earth too, and KICK SOME BUTT will you?

GILBERT REMULLA: I apologize for calling you PUSILLANIMOUS -- it's true but disrespectful. Besides you are NOT DISHONORABLE like the TRUE COWARDS in the Majority. It's just that your NOBILITY is not SAVAGE enough.

RODOLFO ANTONINO: What a waste of mediocre brain cells.

GULLAS: You're just like Teddy Boy, but without the self-absorption and, in my opinion, better interpellatory skills. You are not hopeless, either of you.

MARCOLETA: As a mercenary, you have the respect of no one, including your Hog Handlers. In history you will be an object of ridicule, but only in minor footnotes.

JOSE DE VENECIA: The sneakiest, quietest Little Mind in the Kongress of Moral Midgets. But your usefulness to the Palace is now over. Look out Joe!

PHILIPPINE SENATE: One Supreme Court ruling and one Plebiscite is all that is needed to abolish the denuded forest of Presidential timber. The Palace is coming to chop down what is left. Six months is about all you have left unless you guys all wake up over there. Or has the gene pool truly run out?

JOKER ARROYO: Quit grumbling and mumbling and do something. Or have you walked out on this prosecutorial duty too?

Not even Korina can make you President. You have to do that yourself, Mr. Palengke. It's about time you start if you're serious like some people are saying.

KIKO PANGILINAN:Another apparent waste of good Harvard University's earnest efforts to expand the company of educated men. Sharon can keep you in poliitics, but I think you are not cut out for politics. You are the Senate's version of Gilbert Remulla.

MANUEL VILLAR: Rest on your laurels, sir. That's the way of all barrio athletes.

I have a feeling these latter three senators are not cut out for the bruising, bloody arena outside the Senate fishbowl. Their private lives are perhaps too happy or too absorbing to sacrifice to the viscissitudes of public life. They should retire to banks and law firms and real estate conglomerates, in the private sector where they can do some good. I mean it.

But there are some men whose destinies are still a mystery:





THE POLITICAL MAFIA: The rest have no eye on the future but what they see in the mirror. They are either damaged by a terrible past or fatally compromised by present arrangements and obligations, or both, probably both. The Senators mostly can no longer see the distant shore of statesmanship, or they have already docked in the harbor of Liberty's enemies. Their habitual collective silence, punctuated only by sensational investigations that have amounted to nothing because of the Silence of the Majority (as in the Lower House), has proven what a terrible thing it is for a country to be run by a Political Mafia, where the capi rule and everybody else -- carabinieri or consiglieri -- stays in omerta, one way or the other!

TOMORROW Philippine Commentary returns to the Nineteenth Century...


Rizalist said...

A warm welcome Traveler! To the Archipelago where all the men are weak, all the women are beautiful, and the children, a mysterious mixture.

Edwin Lacierda said...


Your description of the solons is exhilirating. Please expound even further!

Rizalist said...

I forgot EDCEL LAGMAN. I am full of admiration and frustration with him at times. But can you think of a good one to add?


Hello DJB,

I am starting to see the wisdom of your arguments. It is also a sound tactical advise that the opposition or anyone who doesn't buy the Garci-Gloria tales should opt for.

Tackling illegal wiretapping would be a way to solve the impasse and should force Garci and Gloria to come out of their barricades.

The members of the legislature should be advised to take this illegal wiretapping seriously and tackle it illico. Someone who is bold and courageous (and knowledgeable enough in the job) should do it.

DJB, am a bit perplexed - Gen Senga apparently declared that the AFP does not have wiretapping capability. Either he is lying (or was absent when the equipment was purchased, being in Mindanao or in some field command at the time of the purchase) or he is out of his depth.

Someone must remind him that the money may have been gotten from other coffers and not necessarily from the AFP budget but the men of ISAFP & PNP evaluated, shopped for and purchased the equipment. Presidential Security Guards men were also involved in the process.

The evaluation for the equipment and the "shopping" started in 2000 but the purchase was done in 2001.

General Senga should also look at the records of AFP Plans and Programs and he will be surprised that there is an 'intel' item in one of the procurement pages submitted by the AFP to Congress for FY2000 budgetting.

Whether the item was budgeted officially is not sure but one thing is sure, the money (35 million pesos earmarked for the procurement of a few sets at the time) was there, taken from somewhere. European suppliers would not have wasted their time if the guys didn't have the money.

Wiretapping equipment is not that expensive!

Rizalist said...

Welcome Hillblogger! I think ISAFP got its first really serious gear after the escape of Fathur Rhoman Al Ghozi and Miklos Miklos Yunos. These were the two Jemaah Islamiyah bombers that mercilessly killed several dozen riders of the LRT on 30 December 2000. They escaped from the "high security" jail of ISAFP in 2003, after they bribed the guards and used cell phones to arrange their get-away. The US may have financed a system to assist in our anti-terrorism efforts against ASG and JI. Looks like it was used more on FPJ, PML, RR and BEV! In any case they can't hide all the traces of that. If it came from the States or they bought it, those things are "implements" used in crimes against national security under RA4200 and ought to be vigorously sought as evidence of wrongdoing that has nothing to do with voterigging ni the elections per se. Though that could be icing on the cake later.

manuelbuencamino said...

Don't look at the Hello Garci tapes as one unit. The Hello Garci tapes are many different conversations recorded over a period of time hence every recorded snippet of conversation is a separate violation of the antiwiretapping law.

To me this means that Garci will have to file not one but dozens of cases asking the court to suppress each and everyone of those conversations. If we force Garci to do this then he will be obliged to admit that it was his voice in each and every conversation. Garci's admissions will corroborate Marietta's testimony that someone was bugging Garci's phone. You can take off from there.

Rizalist said...

Welcome MB -- RA 4200 is called a "content neutral law" because if you read the parts were its says wiretapping is unlawful, it doesn't specify what the "content" of the thing you are recording is. But let me ask you if you think the opposite of my prediction could happen: that the Suprem e Court will reject Garci's Second Petition and RULE that the Garci tapes CAN be used in Congress to nail the voteriggers? We may be confused by the Law, but I think we know our Politics, no?

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

Salbahe ka talaga DJB! Your assessment of our political players really takes the cake. Your assessment of the "palakpak king" JdV and your "paalala" to him to make "ingat" hit the nail on the head. Your dissections are truely wise and accurate. Thanks. Pero tulad nang laging sabi ng lolo ko sa akin "salbahe ka talaga!" And please take that as a compliment.

Rizalist said...

BFR -- One more comment like that and I might never stop blogging! You water the Rose, and let us keep digging at the Roots of the Weeds.