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.
ONLY THE OPPOSITION CAN SAVE GMA!
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?
MAR ROXAS: 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:
FRANK DRILON: ?
RODOLFO BIAZON: ?
JUN MAGSAYSAY: ?
ALFREDO LIM: ?
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...