RATED PG-13 (MP3) LISTEN to what Senator Joker Arroyo thinks of the conspiracy alleged by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (no relation) to justify Proclamation 1017 in response to a reporter's question during a Press Conference today following the Senate's second day of hearings, which focused on the alleged violations of Press Freedom directed at media outlets deemed critical of the present regime, such as the Daily Tribune, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and ABSCBN News. An erstwhile ally of the President, but now a severe and exasperated critic, Senator Joker Arroyo minces no words in describing the present situation as an approximation to Marcos' Martial Law. In fact, Senator Arroyo makes the same case that Senator Dick Gordon made at yesterday's hearing. The President has arrogated martial law powers unto herself while avoiding the carefully built Congressional and Judicial safeguards against the very excesses now being exposed in the Senate hearings. Here are Senator Joker Arroyo's further scathing remarks specifically on EO 464, which gag order was used by top government officials as their excuse for not attending the Senate hearings, namely National Telecommunications Commission head Ronald Solis, and Police Director General Arturo N. Lomibao, both accused of carrying out the worst of Proclamation 1017's repressive mandates. But Sheila Coronel of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Daily Tribune Publisher Ninez Cacho Olivarez were there to testify to the ongoing pogrom against Media. and Press Freedom in the Philippines. GOVERNMENT WITNESS APPEARS HOODED AND IN BULLET PROOF VEST: It has suddenly become very important that the Government of President Arroyo convincingly prove the factual bases for the premises (the whereas clauses) in Proclamation 1017. Based on testimony before the Philippine Senate yesterday by former Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza and legal luminaries from the University of the Philippines Law School, and the Commission on Human Rights, certain top government officials can evidently be charged criminally, administratively and civilly for carrying out actions imbued with martial law powers that were not granted to them by Proclamation 1017. For example, there are the warrantless arrests undertaken by the Philippine National Police in the cases of Congressmen Crispin Beltran and Riza Hontiveros Baraquel, and of Prof. Randy David. There is also the warrantless raid on the Daily Tribune newspaper on the day after Proclamation 1017 was promulgated and just yesterday, threats to slap broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer with inciting to sedition charges for reporting various aspects of the Proclamation 1017 story.
PROCLAMATION 1017 in Whereas Clause Number One describes what President Arroyo called a "clear and present danger" in her broadcast message on 24 February 2006--
WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists – the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State -- who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly-constituted Government elected in May 2004;
But did such a "tactical alliance" and "systematic conspiracy" really exist? Yesterday, the Philippine National Police presented to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez a very special witness, a certain JAIME BELTRAN FUENTES, who is said to confirm a very important factual basis for Proclamation 1017. (Philippine Daily Inquirer reports). In the photograph at right, that all-important witness is shown being sworn in at the Department of Justice, with his head hooded and covered to hide his face and true identity, as well as wearing a bullet proof vest. This photo was taken from television coverage of the hearing IN the Department of Justice during the submission of Mr. Fuentes's signed affidavits. I certainly hope that the government has more solid evidence than this that a Leftist Rightist tactical alliance coup d'etat represented "a clear and present danger" that necessitated the declaration of a state of a national emergency on the 20th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution against dictator Ferdinand Marcos last February 24.
After Armed Forces Chief of Staff cited as proof of "clear and present danger," that article by Time Magazine with Nelly Sindayen's yarn about the coup plot being hatched at Peping Cojuanco's house with Pastor Boy Saycon and General Danilo Lim on the speaker phone, I didn't expect they would pull this hooded bunny rabbit out of the hat and avoid the now growing impression that Proclamation 1017 may have been declared upon false premises.
Now, just a minor point: look at the expressions of everyone in the photo except for the Star Witness. All are employees of the Dept. of Justice or his police escort. What do they seem to think of the melodramatic attire and hence the overall veracity and credibility of the Star Witness?