TEDDY BOY LOCSIN on Korina Today (ABSCBN ANC) reveals how opponents of the Anti Terrorism Bill in the House and Senate were able to delete an important provision in the legislation punishing PRANK TERRORISM with ten years in jail. This provision was intended to prevent incidents at airports in which someone jokingly or idiotically claims to have a bomb or weapon. Such a provision would certainly apply to the Manila Hostage Crisis this past week, so Teddy Boy says he will file an amendment to the Human Security Act when Congress reconvenes. He says that even if those were wooden grenades and blank ammo in the possession of Jun Ducat and his fellow hostage takers, the police had no way of knowing that and might have opened fire or taken some other drastic action resulting in disaster. I agree. And while they're at it, those other big LOOPHOLES in the Anti Terrorism Law ought to be closed and its grievous deficiencies alleviated. The removal of the prank terrorism provision in the original version of the law was only one of dozens of amendments accomplished by so called "human rights defenders" among the honorable senators and congressmen which have in fact substantially weakened the law and inutilized it for the purpose of preventing the use of terrorist tactics and activities. What the Jun Ducat incident teaches us is that PRANK TERRORISM is really now a new form of PROTEST ACTION that could start a whole new destructive fashion among militants and so-called reformers.
Now for disturbing speculation about the Manila Hostage Crisis:
WERE PARENTS IN ON DUCAT HOSTAGE TAKING? One of the most puzzling and intriguing aspects of this story is how the parents of the 26 hostaged day-care kids (average age 5) have apparently declared no intention to file charges against Jun Ducat and his accomplices. It strikes me as most unnatural and suspicious that some of those parents who immediately made themselves available for Mass Media interviews following the end of the 10 hour hostage drama were actually supporting Jun Ducat, calling him a philanthropist, a hero, and calling for his release! Almost as if they were in cahoots with the hostage takers, they are behaving or talking not like the parents of kids kidnapped and detained in a school bus with grenades and Uzis being brandished by three men, but almost as co-conspirators. I suppose the fact that two big names (Bong Revilla and Amable Aguiluz) have acceded to the hostage taker's demand that they be given free lifetime education and even land titles also constitutes they're motive. Perhaps, as Teddy Boy suggests they also should be investigated for conspiracy to extortion!
MASS MEDIA RUN AMUCK: Mass Media in the Philippines plays a unique role which I can only describe as that of QUASI GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS. Newspapers, TV and Radio networks have become far more than objective recorders and observers of the local and national scene. Having many times tasted of social and political power potent enough to effect social changes big and small all the way to regime change at the highests levels, the Mass Media stands toe-to-toe with militant mass organizations, NGOs, and Government itself as a wielder of information, influence and power. This situation is self-congrulatingly described by some media folks as the "power of press freedom". But an irreversible consequence for reporters, journalists, broadcasters, editors, commentators anchor persons who partake of this power is that they have indeed become PUBLIC FIGURES who just happen to work in the Mass Media and can hardly claim the old title of JOURNALIST.