Thursday, August 17, 2006

Special Court Could Oversee Anti-Terror Law

nti-terrorism laws unavoidably entail some curtailment of the general public's freedoms. But hardly anyone objects very strenuously even to draconian countermeasures when a credible threat is demonstrated, as in the case of a ban on carrying on-board commercial aircraft, components of liquid improvised explosives in the foiled London airliner bombing conspiracy. But last week, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel and Rep. Nereus Acosta, vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee declared their intention to hold up, once more, the passage into Law of the long-debated Anti-Terrorism Bill because they say the authorities may use it against legitimate political and opposition leaders. On ABSCBN/ANC last night, Twink Macaraeg's televised one-on-one debate between National Security Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor and the Secretary General of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Renato Reyes, also revolved around the issue of how the defense of human and civil rights ought to be conducted while the international community fights a war on international terrorism. Although Neric Acosta seems comfortable endlessly debating "the definition of terrorism" as an irresolvable or inescapable rut, his, is really a cop-out position. Nene Pimentel touches on more substantive civil libertarian issues by invoking the ghost of martial laws past and the Marcosian legacy of officially denied salvagings, unexplained desaparecidos ... and other human rights atrocities of the recent past. The concerns of both legislators are serious, but can, and have already been amply addressed during the debates over the anti-terror bill. I might only add the following thoughts:

(1) The concern for human and civil rights during the implementation of a new anti-terror law can be addressed in the same way that Sen. Lorenzo M. Tanada, in crafting the 1965 Anti-Wiretapping Law allowed for the legitimate use of electronic eavesdropping on citizens for intelligence and national security purposes, by placing such special operations under the supervision and jurisdiction of the Courts.

(2) In the present environment of an asymmetric war between the international community and international terror groups like Al Qaeda and their allies, perhaps a special Court, like the FISA Court in the United States, has to be instituted especially to handle cases that specifically invoke anti-terrorism legislation. It would operate in much the same way as FISA...the government national security and intelligence agencies would apply for warrants before special anti terror operations are to be undertaken, or, in emergency situations, they may apply for the warrants and inform the Court of their actions even AFTER the operations.

(3) The principle involved in both the Tanada's Anti-Wiretapping Law and the present Anti-Terrorism bill is the same because both laws allows for a curtailment of the people's basic freedoms, but only as needed and reviewed and approved by a competent Court. National Security objectives can be achieved in an effective and timely manner while respecting the human and civil rights of citizens and foreign nationals if the implementation of such laws are conducted with the appropriate judicial review.

The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978)
created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal police agencies (primarily the F.B.I.) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within Department of Justice. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven year terms.
Legislative oversight into the operations of anti-terror agencies within the Executive Dept. ought to be utilized as well to prevent improper targeting of legitimate political personalities, or any other violations of the anti-Terror Law's letter and spirit.

23 comments:

Karl M. Garcia said...

So I say in the previous blog,that the problem is humanity's way of making life so difficult,as a reaction to Filipino people are the Filipino people's problems;can be extended here...

Since terrorism is a an unnecessary evil that we live by,we need a necessary evil,which is the anti terror law.
Why do we worry that it will be rushed as if the debates are not endless.

Rizalist said...

Karl,
Besides, EVERY law can conceivably be abused by the executive dept! But that is what checks and balances are intended to do. Now I do suggest that whenever the powers of the executive are expanded, as becomes necessary in the war on terror, there should be a corresponding increase in the countervailing judicial review and legislative oversight checks and balances. A special court is one, and oversight hearings by Congress is another.

Karl M. Garcia said...

True,it is abused even right now especially with the supreme court 's ruling on the eo464 where the balancer has been checked.

If Civilian authority means that the executive must be followed by the military and when it is not it is insubordination,then indeed we are screwed, when an anti terror law would be expedited.

The supreme court ruling must be appealed,if not the civilian authority and the commander in chief title will always be abused.

mlq3 said...

cjb, why haven't we adopted the practice of the americans when it comes to urgent but controversial legislation: giving the law a fixed life, and subjecting it to reenactment every year or few years?

john marzan said...

I am not against the Anti-Terrorism Bill per se. I just dont trust the administration that will implement it. And the bill in it's current form is unacceptable and needs to be rewritten.

As to the Special courts you suggest, will it really be independent? Or independent like our current SC? Or like our COMELEC?

DJB, ikaw mismo sinabi mo kung bakit hindi maipasa ni Arroyo ang anti-terror bill:

The Anti-Terror Law must not be only a product of legislation, it should also be a call to arms for national and international cooperation fighting a common enemy. It should be an integral part of that call to sacrifice and valor and creativity to secure our borders and malls and jeepneys and tricycles from the terrorists.

Ah, but there is the problem. Only legitimate leaders, those with the implicit trust and confidence of their people, can call upon them to make such sacrifices in the name of survival against an implacable and dangerous foe.

Only true, tested and trusted leaders can convince their people to suspend disbelief in the inherent malevolence of state power towards personal freedom.


Without such a leader to implement a law of such precise definition as you suggest and which I agree is needed, no amount of definition and distinction-making can possibly elicit the willing and eager support of the population for the temporary curtailment of the full ambit of their liberties and prerogatives.

Only a trusted and esteemed leader, can ask her people for the benefit of the doubt that their liberties will be safe in her hands.

In your Jan 28, 2006 letter to GWB, you wrote the reasons why Arroyo cannot be trusted:

(1) Despite her promises after 9/11, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has failed to secure an Anti-Terrorism Law in the Philippines, mainly because she has failed to make the case with the Filipino people and its Congress which she controls, to join in the Global War On Terrorism. I think this is because she is at heart, a politician, who saw GWOT just as a way into America's good graces. Sorry to let you know this, but she used you and she used our great nation, pretending to be our friend, when really all she wanted was to win an election in 2004, by hook or by crook, by golly or by Garci.

(2) Despite her promises to the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq, she negotiated with and capitulated to hooded terrorist kidnappers holding Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz hostage. Spooked by the local antiwar Media and the Left, she gave in to the terrorists' demand and pulled out the Philippine humanitarian force.

(3) Despite fulsome support of the American people and the US Congress for her administration up until that point -- and indeed to this very day [sic!] -- Gloria then high-tailed it off to China to play that game of modern promiscuity that is the vice of Third World leaders who don't really want the Cold War to go away. It was always in pitting one Big Power against another during that long struggle, that the craftiest among them thought they found "an independent foreign policy." In my opinion, for Gloria this two-step process of abandoning the Coalition in Iraq and jumping into the Chinese-canopied bed in Asia was actually done in anticipation of a DEFEAT for the Republicans and George W. Bush in the 2004 US national elections. Analysis of the Palace's moves and statements in the crucial month before the November, 2004 polls shows that Malacanang was already betting on and backing a win by JOHN KERRY. Gloria did not believe you were going to win a second term, W.

I agree with your letter Dean. From 2001 to 2004 (when RP-US relations were at it's peak) and mid 2004- mid 2005 (months before GLORIAGATE), BAKIT hindi ni Arroyo mai-pinasa yang Anti-Terror bill na yan? Nag-iba ba ang priorities ni Arroyo after elections? From Big Brother America to Big Brother China? (and back to Big Brother America again)?

Alam mo rin ang dahilan kung bakit walang tiwala ang opposition at GMA critics sa Anti-Terrorism bill ni Arroyo. You wrote:

Take the Anti-terrorist Bill that is up to the Senate for deliberation. During her birthday celebration speech, the President called on the people to help her fight "not just the terrorists" but also "the political destabilizers" -- both as the enemies of freedom and democracy.

No wonder the Opposition fears the Anti-Terrorism Bill will be used against them, since "destabilizing the government" is apparently one of the proposed terrorist crimes in the proposed measure. Even Rep. Roilo Golez (Independent, Paranaque, PMA and US Naval Academy, former National Security Adviser of Gloria!) told ABSCBN News last night, that he did not support passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill now because he was convinced the President would use it against the Opposition.

Obviously, Roilo Golez have good reasons to be concerned. The Anti-Terror bill needs to be rewritten, IMO.

At sa pagkakaalam ko, hindi naman kontra ang opposition sa isang anti-Terror bill. I don't think the opposition is "soft on terrorism":

The situation is like a tinderbox. And now a very dangerous development has occurred which ought to concern our allies in the war on terror. There is a clear attempt on the part of the palace to tie its repressive policies against the critics of the President to the badly needed Anti-Terrorism Law.

Opposition Senators Panfilo Lacson and Jinggoy Estrada, who co-sponsored the anti-terrorism bills in the Senate are saying they may withdraw support for the legislation because the apparent danger that a law they pass can easily be used against them. And they are joined in this uncertainty over the measure as administration stalwarts like Joker Arroyo and Manuel Villar.

Likewise Rep. Roilo Golez may oppose the legislation in the House on similar grounds. He of the US Naval Academy!

john marzan said...

The way the Arroyo admin is behaving, I agree with Ninez that this administration doesn't really need an anti-Terror bill, with the way this administration is abusing it's powers. They just want the anti-terror bill passed so that they can have something to show to the Bush administration, just as the ARroyo admin used the abolition of the death penalty as a "pasalubong" to Pope Benedict.

ricelander said...

Like a knife: give it to a good doctor, he will use it to save a life; hand it to a criminal--run for your life!

Rizalist said...

okay ricelander, nice alliteration. but regarding bad doctors, well what for are we, a famous lawyer nation? Besides the existence of bad doctors is no reason to stick with dull knives that just don't cut it anymore. All I'm saying is that where NECESSARY curtailments in the people's liberties are allowed by law in the higher interest of national defense and physical survival of people and civil infrastructure, they should be under strict scrutiny by the Judiciary, first and foremost; by the Legislature, by the Media and by the general public--with varying degrees jurisdiction, access and responsibility. I'm against the sterile STALEMATE over anti-terror legislation which satisfies only the object of that legislation and their allies. I think this is a formula that has worked in other jurisdictions, not perfectly, but certainly better than the even more puerile debate about "what is terrorism?"

Rizalist said...

John,
I guess if you put it that way...I really can't argue against myself can I? Hehe. But on the matter of whether a leader with a cloud over the legitimacy of her Presidency can somehow call her people to arms in a time of terrorist attack or other emergency, I would not be so steadfast in denying the possibility of it, though in those instances you've quoted, I may have expressed the gravest doubts in the case of Pres. Arroyo. Yet who knows what remarkable and interesting times may come upon us in this perilous world. It would not be the first time that a perhaps unpopular and widely opposed leader found some fortuitous external cause around which to rally his or her nation and thus win a measure of historical prestige. That is not impossible with Gloria, though she will forever be stained by the Garci controversy and a raft of subsequent actions and policies.

And even if she fails, ESPECIALLY if she fails to rally the people, then the people must see to their own defense against terrorists.

Juan said...

Dean,

To prove to the special courts that I am not a terrorist?!

john marzan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
john marzan said...

John,
I guess if you put it that way...I really can't argue against myself can I? Hehe. But on the matter of whether a leader with a cloud over the legitimacy of her Presidency can somehow call her people to arms in a time of terrorist attack or other emergency, I would not be so steadfast in denying the possibility of it, though in those instances you've quoted, I may have expressed the gravest doubts in the case of Pres. Arroyo. Yet who knows what remarkable and interesting times may come upon us in this perilous world. It would not be the first time that a perhaps unpopular and widely opposed leader found some fortuitous external cause around which to rally his or her nation and thus win a measure of historical prestige. That is not impossible with Gloria, though she will forever be stained by the Garci controversy and a raft of subsequent actions and policies.

Are you comparing Bush to Arroyo? LOL.

She should have made sincere efforts to unite the country after edsa dos, but instead, she chose to destroy the opposition (Lacson, roco, FPJ) and focused on "winning" the elections in 2004.

she should have passed the anti-terror bill noong 2001-2005, when she still has the opposition like golez, lacson and jinggoy supporting such bills. pero bakit hindi naging priority ito ng Arroyo admin at ng mga kaalyado nito sa senado (pro-arroyo pa ito dati) at House during her first four years in office?

And even if she fails, ESPECIALLY if she fails to rally the people, then the people must see to their own defense against terrorists.

I don't think she'll be able to rally the people behind her anymore than marcos can rally the people behind him.

Besides, sa nakikita ko, this admin doesn't need an anti-terror bill because they're above the law anyway and can pretty much do whatever they want to do with the suspects and wiretapping etc. And Arroyo's SC is there to back them up.

an anti-terror bill is only needed for an administration that knows it's boundaries, respects the rule of law, and feels limited by the current laws because they are inadequate to deal with terrorism.

Rizalist said...

Juan Makabayan,
The PRINCIPLE I am appealing to is one of PARITY between the amount of extraordinary access desired by the State authorities into the private lives and communications of citizens AND the right of the Public to Know what the State authorities actually are doing.

In other words, there is no free lunch during the War on Terror as far as infringing on civil rights needlessly. But there is also no hindrance to the State being able to defend the national security against any real terror threats.

However, it requires a definite oversight mechanism. I am merely proposing learning from the American example when they came to this same juncture during the FISA law enactment in the wake of Watergate!

I'm sure Juan Makabayan is unlikely to be a serious subject of such a special court. It wouldn't work that way.

john marzan said...

Yet who knows what remarkable and interesting times may come upon us in this perilous world. It would not be the first time that a perhaps unpopular and widely opposed leader found some fortuitous external cause around which to rally his or her nation and thus win a measure of historical prestige. That is not impossible with Gloria, though she will forever be stained by the Garci controversy and a raft of subsequent actions and policies.

I like Dubya, I supported the Iraq war, but even I think the US needs a change in leadership. I want somebody who is less divisive, less incompetent in dealing with the threat of Iran and rebuilding Iraq, and more credible with it's own US public. Guliani, McCain and Condi Rice would all make great replacements. From the Democrats side, I think Hillary would make a good president. I think she's smart and I don't think she's "weak on terror" at all. And I it'd be good to have a Hawkish Dem like Hill as president, so she can drag her party to the center and change it's image from "anti-war, weak-on-national-defence" to a more patriotic, more hawkish party of 60 years ago.

And even if she fails, ESPECIALLY if she fails to rally the people, then the people must see to their own defense against terrorists.

Maybe she needs to create her "own 9/11" to rally the people around her.

Karl M. Garcia said...

"Maybe she needs to create her "own 9/11" to rally the people around her. "

John,I hope not. wag naman!
History will never forgive her if she ever does pull a stunt like that.

john marzan said...

"Maybe she needs to create her "own 9/11" to rally the people around her. "

John,I hope not. wag naman!
History will never forgive her if she ever does pull a stunt like that.


Karl, nagkaroon na tayo ng 9/11 situation, but instead of uniting and rallying around the president, siya pa ang binintang, because many people did not trust this president at that time. this incident helped lead to his downfall.

It is only later when we found out na Islamic Terrorists pala ang gumawa nito.

AmericanPainter said...

“I like Dubya, I supported the Iraq war, but even I think the US needs a change in leadership. I want somebody who is less divisive, less incompetent in dealing with the threat of Iran and rebuilding Iraq, and more credible with it's own US public.”

Sorry John, but I have a different view. While it is very popular to be anti-Bush, one must be a thinker to see past irrational, impatient American public opinion. I also supported the President in the Iraq war and support him still. I don’t see him as incompetent, but instead, a strong profile in courage in doing what must be done in Iraq despite prevailing public opinion. A weaker President might pull out of Iraq and leave it to the terrorist who want exactly that. Because of Bush, we will see a rebuilt and democratic Iraq. Just hang in there and you’ll see.

As far as Iran is concerned the United States is between a rock and a hard place. There can be little question by now that there will not be a political solution. Iran has made it abundantly clear, repeatedly that it will not give up it’s nuclear ambitions. Iran has refused the latest offers of incentives and has announced that nothing will stop them.

Obviously a nuclear armed Iran is unthinkable and it’s becoming very clear that only a military solution remains. But the United States used all of it’s chips on the invasion of Iraq and must wait for the world to agree. Bush is correct in waiting though it is admittedly a dangerous wait. but he has little choice.

Hillary as President? - “And I it'd be good to have a Hawkish Dem like Hill as president”
Many believe she was the real power behind the scene during the Clinton administration, when our Military was depleted in order to give the false impression that our budget had no deficit. It was a political decision that was detrimental to our military. Such a “hawk” we don’t need.

I’ll agree with you on Guliani, McCain and Condi Rice as good choices for President

john marzan said...

I also supported the President in the Iraq war and support him still. I don’t see him as incompetent, but instead, a strong profile in courage in doing what must be done in Iraq despite prevailing public opinion. A weaker President might pull out of Iraq and leave it to the terrorist who want exactly that. Because of Bush, we will see a rebuilt and democratic Iraq. Just hang in there and you’ll see.

I still support Bush and the rebuilding of Iraq, but in 2008, there will be another presidential election, and I'd love to see somebody like Guliani or a hawkish dem to win the presidency.

Hillary as President? - “And I it'd be good to have a Hawkish Dem like Hill as president”
Many believe she was the real power behind the scene during the Clinton administration, when our Military was depleted in order to give the false impression that our budget had no deficit. It was a political decision that was detrimental to our military. Such a “hawk” we don’t need.


Oh I don't know much about that, americanpainter.

but judging from her record as a senator, i think she's good in national defense, compared to gov. bush when he was still campaigning for president in 2000.

john marzan said...

even rupert murdoch is cozying up to hillary, lol.

http://www.google.com.ph/search?num=20&hl=en&safe=off&q=rupert+murdoch+hillary+clinton&meta=

AmericanPainter said...

Republicans are looking toward 2008 with increasing unease. Hillary Clinton's name recognition gives her a towering edge over any other Republican or Democrat candidate. Americans are ready for a female president, and Hillary is a logical choice, having more visibility than even any potential male candidate.
Nevertheless, Hillary's ascendancy can be overcome. She is assured to win the Democratic primary, but will have problems winning the general election. Her principal weakness? She is conspicuously lacking in charisma. As we have learned progressively since the arrival of television, personality counts considerably in national elections. How else would little-known Bill Clinton have emerged as the Democratic frontrunner in 1992, beating out better-known Democrats like Bob Kerrey and Richard Gephardt? The Republicans learned their lesson and nominated George W. Bush next, whose folksy demeanor was arguably the determining factor in his races against Al Gore and John Kerry. Undecided voters and independents decide elections. Many do not follow politics closely, acquiring their information from news sound bites. A few television clips of Hillary Clinton droning in her monotone, schoolmarm voice about "the children" or government healthcare will tune out all but her most allegiant supporters.
It is puzzling why Hillary has not corrected this weakness. She must realize her husband's charm was responsible for his career advancement - and hers. One would think she would take classes on how to improve her appeal. She no longer has Bill's coattails to ride on; he can be little more than a shadow in the background when she runs for President. The reality is Hillary probably cannot change her disposition. She has a bitterness to her, an angriness, that she does not want to set aside. It is such a deep part of who she is that she is unwilling or incapable of suppressing it. It is part feminist resentment and part anger toward her husband for his infidelity and apparent ease obtaining success. She begrudges the fact that her advancement in politics is mostly a result of her connection to him. She cannot leave him, because he still opens doors for her that wouldn't otherwise be opened (he will secure the Democratic presidential nomination for her), and she cannot be sure her popularity will remain as high if she abandons him.

john marzan said...

i'm not worried about Hillary's "angriness" or "bitterness". That's just what the guys from the other side are saying to make her a less desirable woman candidate for president.

Most democrats love Hillary and Bill, hindi ba? and all the hate she's getting from Kos is actually a positive, IMO.

Having said that, I prefer Guliani or McCain or Condi over her. But i'm not going to pull all my hair out if she wins the presidency.

Atty-at-Work said...

Dean, may I request for permission to post one or two law-related topics (this perhaps) at The Forum.

Thanks.

Fred

Rizalist said...

Hi there Fred. Sure. Flattering you should ask. Please do so and I shall be happy to cross post some of your own work here as well. Thanks.