ARS are not always so obvious.
Even World Wars, in which pretty much everybody takes sides, may be in full flare or about to be, yet many otherwise intelligent and sensible people DENY they are ongoing or imminent. Take World War II, for example, in which SIXTY MILLION human beings eventually died. From the time Germany invaded Poland in 1939 it was three whole years (1942) before America joined the combat proper, even though she was helping out allies long before. During that short interregnum however, many people were hoping and praying the nation would not enter the conflict at all. In that period, war was not obvious to most.
Such a state of denial is perhaps understandable given that war IS hell.
Yesterday, I was with J.J. Disini of the U.P. Law School Internet Initiative and Mr. B. Cadiz, as we were waiting to appear on Cheche Lazaro's program Media in Focus program and fell into a discussion about the War on Terror and the Human Security Act of 2007.
I have a nasty feeling that their thinking on this subject is quite representative of many otherwise sensible people in our society, especially among the Left Liberal Establishment types:
That the anti-terror law is unnecessary because the so-called "component crimes" of terrorism as defined in the Human Security Act of 2007 are already dealt with under the Revised Penal Code and other existing laws.
I guess they do not subscribe to the notion that the WHOLE can be greater than the SUM OF THE PARTS.
But consider for example the legislation passed against organized crime families like the Mafia in the United States, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly called RICO). This US Federal law provides for extended penalties for criminal acts performed as part of an ongoing RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. This legislation clearly deals with crimes that are individually dealt with already in other laws, such as those against murder, robbery, extortion, mayhem, and other violent and dastardly acts. Yet no one seriously questions the utility of regarding the criminal organizations themselves as merely employing these crimes as "tactics" in the illegal pursuit of economic wealth and control of lucrative criminal enterprises such gambling, drugs, prostitution and protection rackets.
I think this is one useful way to think of the Human Security Act of 2007. It is the equivalent of RICO except it is "Terrorist Influenced and Nihilistic Organizations Act". It is an organized crime control law. Just as with the Mafia, so too with the global terrorist networks like Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf Group, MILF, MNLF (in their "lost command" modalities when they tend to go on these decapitation sprees of Christian students working on a road gang) and the CPP-NPA (in their miserable everyday lives.) The WHOLE of their activities are greater than the sum of their parts because they are actually waging WAR on the rest of mankind,.
Another theme mentioned by JJ Disini and Mr. Cadiz was that the Government only wants it to go after its enemies in the legitimate political opposition using the terrorist label. I think this is basically true for the real terrorists like Abu Sayyaf and the CPP-NPA. But the political opposition itself (like Ping Lacson of all people and Nene Pimentel) has abetted this really infantile and self-aggrandizing idea that THEY are the targets of the legislation. That the War on Terror may turn on them.
As you can see, lots of people are trapped in the definitional quagmire and want all further discussion and lawmaking and interdiction suspended until some definition with metaphysical compleatness is achieved to their satisfaction.
My own definition of terrorism by the way is this:
Terrorism is organized crime for political and ideological purposes.
Readers should not construe my support for an anti-terrorism law as complete approbation of the Human Security Act of 2007, which is a law that was passed with so many amendments and compromises that I am not sure we aren't actually worse off for it than without it!
First of all is the "definition of terrorism" said to be given in Section 3 of the Law:
SEC. 3. Terrorism. – Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:Notice that the law first defines all the possible component crimes by enumeration, but that it identifies as the distinguishing marks of a terrorist act two conditions: (a) that it creates a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic; and (b) that some kind of unlawful demand is made on the Government.
1. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters);
2. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection);
3. Article 134-a (Coup d‘Etat), including acts committed by private persons;
4. Article 248 (Murder);
5. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention);
6. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction,
1. Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson);
2. Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990);
3. Republic Act No. 5207, (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968);
4. Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Hijacking Law);
5. Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-piracy and Anti-highway Robbery Law of 1974); and,
6. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree Codifying the Laws on Illegal and Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives)
thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.
I agree with many that this is a weak and facile definition. Some have even taken to apt reductio ad absurdum examples like what happens if a suicide bomber just runs into a Jollibee restaurant and blows it up without making any demands at all?
My own question about this definition is what if there IS no extraordinary fear and panic but lots of people are dead and exploded? What if we don't WANT the public to react with fear and panic even in the face of full-on terrorist attacks, and they respond? In other words, while it is true that fear and panic are things terrorists may want to sow, they've got bigger things in mind than just scaring people, I would think. And the failure of any particular terrorist act to sow widespread fear and panic does not minimize its other possible destructive effects as components of a terrorist nature.
This makes me suspect that our lawmakers don't really understand the phenomenon well enough to craft a law that does not only what is necessary to solve the problem, but is also sufficient to do so.
Consider the following INSANITY in the Special Effectivity Clause:
After the publication required above shall have been done, the Act shall take effect two (2) months after the elections are held in May 2007.The Human Security Act of 2007 is automatically suspended for three months around every election because Juan Ponce Enrile, who professes to hate Nene Pimentel, and vice-versa nonetheless agreed to this just to get the bill through.
Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be automatically suspended one month before and two months after the holding of any election.
Consider another provision that I think actually discourages enforcement of the law itself!--
SEC. 50. Damages for Unproven Charge of Terrorism. – Upon acquittal, any person who is accused of terrorism shall be entitled to the payment of damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) for every day that he or she has been detained or deprived of liberty or arrested without a warrant as a result of such an accusation. The amount of damages shall be automatically charged against the appropriations of the police agency or the Anti-Terrorism Council that brought or sanctioned the filing of the charges against the accused. It shall also be released within fifteen (15) days from the date of the acquittal of the accused. The award of damages mentioned above shall be without prejudice to the right of the acquitted accused to file criminal or administrative charges against those responsible for charging him with the case of terrorism.I think this law is really damaged goods, but for quite different reasons than the Left, who may decide to rejoice in this insight.
As for the question in my title, it looks like ABSCBN News already has the answer as the city of Davao goes on alert for a possible car-bomb attack.
Hey Rizalist, are there any laws in the Philippines against blowing up old cars? Think Dulmatin has anything to do with this? I wonder how his wife and kids are now after we shipped them back to Indonesia with Filipino taxpayers money and the loving arms of the Jihad because the anti-terror law was not yet effective.