GLORIAGATE, also known as the Hello Garci Scandal, is mostly described as "a political and electoral crisis." arising from the discovery and revelation of wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and dozens of other identifiable officials and personalities during the 2004 election period. The ironic thing is that GLORIAGATE was born in Malacanang Palace itself on 6 June 2005 and its moment of birth is captured for posterity in the picture nearby, which features the Presidential Spokesman, IGNACIO BUNYE, the literal nursemaid of Gloriagate, holding up two CDROMs that ignited the most devastating crisis of the Arroyo administration.
Yet the obvious NATIONAL SECURITY implications of the case have oddly never been a major concern of either the administration or the opposition. To this day, for example, there is no official explanation or even investigation by the Executive Department, of WHO made the Garci Recordings, WHY, HOW, WHEN and WHERE they were made. Yet no one seems to perturbed by the utterly stunning and uncontested fact that the COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the Armed Forces had been illegally eavesdropped upon, and her communications with ranking members of Philippine officialdom, both civilian and military, had been illegally recorded. This SILENCE or INDIFFERENCE to what should be regarded as an ALARMING BREACH in national security, is the most poignant indictment of the Arroyo political machinery's ultimate complicity and perhaps essential guilt in the production of those recordings.
THE MERE EXISTENCE of the Garci Recordings is to me PALPABLE EVIDENCE that a major breach in NATIONAL SECURITY occurred LONG BEFORE these conversations came to the knowledge of the general public, through members of the political Opposition like former Sen. Francisco Tatad and lawyer Alan Paguia, and indeed Ignacio Bunye. But whoever by, and however the original Garci Recordings were made in 2004, the original acts of data acquisition, digital and analog reproduction and utilization of the Garci Recordings, BEFORE even the Opposition got their hands on copies of them and released them in 2005, those original acts were definitely violations of Republic Act 4200, Sections (1) and (2) of Lorenzo Tanada's 1965 Anti Wiretapping Law. Philippine Commentary on this law is here.
To his everlasting credit, SENATOR RODOLFO BIAZON, Chairman of the Senate Defense Committee, has been approaching the investigation of the Gloriagate Scandal from this National Security perspective. ABSCBN News reports on the upcoming Senate hearings that will reportedly feature new witnesses and more tapes tending to show a "massive wiretapping operation" conducted by the Intelligence Services of the AFP itself. PDI covered last month's testimony by Sgt. Doble's lover. and I've reported on this aspect of the case in previous posts: Stunning Break in Gloriagate Controversy.
Several important conclusions can however already be drawn:
(1) The FACT that the President was wiretapped proves that the communications of the Philippine Commander in Chief and Chief Executive are NOT SECURE. Even if ordered by the Palace itself, or its political supporters, the fact that the recordings were discovered and fell into the Public Domain, also proves that such operations are NOT SECURE.
(2) The FACT that neither the Office of the President nor the Department of Justice nor the National Bureau of Investigation nor the Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched an investigation to determine the source of the Garci Recordings or to even seem interested in their real provenance, signals an ONGOING DERELICTION OF DUTY, by both the CIC and the COS of the AFP, and a CONTINUING VIOLATION of RA 4200's mandates to punish and prosecute all offenses against National Security arising from illegal eavesdropping such as wiretapping not covered by appropriate warrants. The Palace's DEFENSIVE STANCE of condemning the recordings as "poisoned fruits" of no possible legal utility or standing, is suspicious because that would not be the expected behavior of Chief Executive that had just been victimized by and illegal eavesdropping operation OR a sound-stage produced forgery of her voice and conversations.
(3) The FACT that Virgilio O. Garcillano, emerged from some unknown hiding hole after five months desaparecido, in order to file a Supreme Court lawsuit against the Five Committees of Congress investigating the Garci Recordings, to have them BURIED FOR GOOD, shows just how important and critical the LEGAL STANDING of those recordings are to the Palace. It is utterly inconceivable that the Prayer contained in GARCI'S SECOND PETITION -- to have all mention of them struck from the Congressional Record -- was filed with any doubt on Garci's part or his handlers, that the Supreme Court will grant it. See Freedom and Garci's Second Petition
(4) If if it is proven to be a FACT that the Philippine Military's intelligence service was used for the partisan political purpose of monitoring an Elections Commissioner with whom the President was allegedly engaged in VOTERIGGING, the crimes to be punished will not be in the Revised Penal and Omnibus Election Codes alone, but will involve such laws as the Antiwiretapping Law, and the laws against treason, espionage and other offenses against National Security.
Then there is the TAUNTING (Malaya reports) of the itinerant mutineer, Capt. Nicanor Faeldon, who's been posing for pictures in front of various regional command centers of the AFP. Faeldon has a website, (which I only wish would practice a little TRUTH IN ADVERTISING and fix their Visitor Counter which seems to increment in chunks of 33 or 34.)
RELATED POST: National Security is the Highest National Interest