Thursday, March 16, 2006

President Arroyo's Impeachable Offense Against RA 4200 Anti Wiretapping Law

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER Rep. Francis "Chiz" Escudero told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) this morning that the Opposition would be launching a Second Impeachment Case against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by July of this year, this time with the required 79 signatures (one-third of the House membership) already accounted for to avoid the parliamentary tactics of the Majority seen last year. He did say there would be fresh charges against the President involving civil rights violations and other excesses resulting from Proclamation 1017. However, I hope the Opposition will include in the forthcoming charge sheet, the IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE that is clearly identified in Republic Act 4200 (The 1965 Anti-Wiretapping Law authored by Senator Lorenzo Tanada) with respect to whoever ordered or caused to be accomplished, the WIRETAPPING that produced the so-called Garci Recordings. Here it is --
R.A. 4200 SECTION (2) Any person who wilfully or knowingly does or who shall aid, permit, or cause to be done any of the acts declared to be unlawful in the preceding section or who violates the provisions of the following section or of any order issued thereunder, or aids, permits, or causes such violation shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than six months or more than six years and with the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification from public office if the offender be a public official at the time of the commission of the offense, and, if the offender is an alien he shall be subject to deportation proceedings.
The testimonial and documentary evidence developed by Senator Rodolfo Biazon's Senate Defense Committee points to the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) as the most likely perpetrators of the original wiretapping that produced the Garci Recordings. Such use of the Military is tantamount to prostituting the Military to partisan politcal purposes and is at the level of treason, if, as is most likely to be the case, it was higher authority that caused T/Sgt. Vidal Doble to wiretap cellphones and record conversations without mandated Court orders and other legal requirements. If, as many people are suggesting, the President herself, (or people close to her in the 2004 political and election machinery), caused the wiretap recordings to be made by Isafp, then a culpable violation of RA 4200 will have been committed, a high crime and misdemeanor if you will, for which she ought to be impeached come July, and later tried and properly convicted.

Technically speaking, many people are "guilty" of violating RA 4200, starting with Ignacio Bunye himself, who first revealed the existence of the recordings to the Mass Media at a Press Conference on June 6, 2005, and the hundreds or thousands of ordinary people who made copies and downloaded the MP3s of the Garci Recordings. Even jeepney drivers who modified horns to sound off with "Hello, Garci??" technically made illegal copies and "played them" for others! Those violations are all in Sections (1A) and (1B) of RA 4200. But whoever it was that ORDERED the wiretapping be done, is guilty under Section (2) of RA 4200. This person is the true "Mastermind" of the wiretapping crimes punishable under RA 4200.

RELATED POSTS:

Was the Adam & Eve of All Tapes Digital?

The Right to Privacy and the Public's Right to Know

5 comments:

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

Re: wiretapping

Might be a good idea to list the names of all suspected culprits - starting with people in government and other people in public service, etc. perhaps in order of presumed culpablity (those who taped, recorded, manufactured the tapes, etc.)

Rizalist said...

I suspect that the violations are widespread and out of control. If we took inventory of all the wiretapping equipment and looked up all the existing Court warrants, we might scare ourselves about how wantonly careless we've been about "national security." But yeah, was it Danga who headed up Isafp? Bet he's got quite a CD collection ey?

Lord Dracula said...

All those who believe Gloria Arroyo should be impeached should now act. People must tell their representatives that they want Arroyo impeached. Even if you have a tight, foolproof impeachment complaint, numbers matter.

I think there are two tasks to do: (1) There should be a concentrated effort to draft a tight impeachment complaint - all should contribute; and (2) people should press their congressmen to support the impeachment.

I hope that all possible impeachable offenses be included in the complaint. The opposition this time around should seek the help of law/lawyer groups, and solicit info/comments from every interested person.

Edwin Lacierda said...

DJB,

Welcome back. Share a little about your trek to the mountains.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

It is very probale that the Americans were behind the wiretapping of Garci-Gloria during the elections of 2004.

They used the ISAFP for the purpose. However, someone (probably lowly officer or technician) kept a copy (Sgt Doble?) and brought it out.

This idea is not a remote at all...