Friday, June 22, 2007

Garci As Victim

BSCBN News Maven Cheche Lazaro had a sparkling discussion on the Rights of Privacy on Media in Focus last night. Her primo guest was former Senator and bona fide freedom fighter, Rene Saguisag, who is a compleat counter-example to the allegation that there is no intelligent life in the Archipelago. (Compleat for having a wicked sense of humor and a self-effacing equanimity.) His weekly email and newspaper essays make much appreciated appearances in my Inbox, as they are always quiet lightning bolts into the inanities of the unjust, the corrupt, the stupid.

Privacy is a broad subject, but the definition given by Sen. Saguisag, from a favorite classic on the subject by Warren and Brandeis (Harvard Law Review, 1890) is a memorable and pithy one: Privacy is the right to be let alone! Written at a time when the great controversy was whether a newspaper could publish the hand-drawn likeness or blurry photograph of a well known socialite, it is still relevant today in the form of the controversies which arise from the public's ceaseless curiosity about celebrities and personalities and the willingness of the paparazzi and the Media and Internet uploaders to indulge them. On the show, PDI's Rina Jimenez David, lawyer Raymond Fortun, and talk show host Mo Twister were discussing brouhaha involving a minor sexy starlet, Maui Taylor. (I am not so sure however that in this case the real subject matter is the Right of Publicity, on which showbiz thrives and would wither and die without.)

GARCI AS VICTIM
There were two main points I tried to make on last night's show:

(1) That the "right of the public to know" ends where the "right against self-incrimination begins." This is relevant to the Media, who are the focus of Cheche's show, but who don't seem to know the limits of Press Freedom in this sense. I believe that this principle is independent of the idea that "public persons" such as government officials and their spouses, celebrities and other well known personalities cannot expect the same degree of privacy (and lack of curiosity) that truly private persons have. Even a completely public person like the President or a Comelec Commissioner never loses the right to remain silent, which is the Fifth Amendment form of the right to be let alone, and can never be required to CONFESS to alleged crimes or to testify against themselves. The line against self-incrimination cannot be breached by merely being a public personality. Not understanding this was the source of the widespread frustration felt during the interrogations of Virgilio Garcillano in the Congress after he surfaced from hiding in December, 2005.

(2) The second point was that the Garci Recordings are not directly evidence of election fraud. Rather they are electronic evidence that a CRIME against national security has been committed, specifically against Republic Act No. 4200, The Antiwiretapping Law. These recordings represent evidence of a clear violation of Section 1 of that law which makes any such recording illegal without a Court Order. The fact that the voices of certain military men are not denied to be present in these recordings, as discovered in Senate Defense Committee investigations of Sgt. Vidal Doble and the ISAFP, means that the Philippine Military has been involved in violations of National Security laws at the highest levels. The wiretapping of the President, a Comelec Commissioner and dozens of private and public personalities without Court Orders are clear violations of the AntiWiretapping Law. The victim of these crimes was not only Virgilio Garcillano and the others as persons, but also their respective high offices, whose privacy of communications has evidently been breached.,

7 comments:

john marzan said...

Haha... Everybody has a right to privacy, just ask Iggy Arroyo. But Arroyo only has her own politicized ISAFP to blame for eavesdropping on her conversations with Garci.

At sa pagkakaalam ko, hindi lang naman si Arroyo at Garci ang na-wiretap eh. Pati rin ang mga opposition at administration candidates at iba pang election officials.

So bakit nandidyan pa rin ang ISAFP? Bakit walang naparusahan sa kanila for spying on Garci and the Opposition? Bakit puro coverups at stonewalling na lang ang nakikita natin sa admin na ito?


The second point was that the Garci Recordings are not directly evidence of election fraud.

But if the tapes are real, arroyo really said what she said to garci, and garci said what he said to arroyo and others... Then there's no other way to look at this other than to conclude that they are guilty of manipulating the election results and intimidating witnesses.

DJB Rizalist said...

Bakit? Why? Because most people focused on the wrong crime: the election fraud. The Garci Recordings PROVE nothing about that. But they ARE physical evidence of a different crime: breach of national security by violating the Anti wire tapping law and use of the military for partisan political purposes. But then again almost nobody cares about the Military--they are too busy accusing them of extrajudicial killings and defending the CPP NPA and their right to kill without being killed themselves as long as they claim to be part of the "parliamentary struggle."

john marzan said...

Bakit? Why? Because most people focused on the wrong crime: the election fraud. The Garci Recordings PROVE nothing about that.

the only question some people have about the tapes are whether they are authentic or not. If they are real, then it only corroborates what we already know and with the evidence we already have (since the 2004 canvassing pa) re the stolen elections.

But they ARE physical evidence of a different crime: breach of national security by violating the Anti wire tapping law and use of the military for partisan political purposes.

alam mo, hindi lang naman si arroyo at si garci ang na wiretap eh. ISAFP also spied on the opposition candidates and god know how many other people during the 2004 elections. I'm sure the opposition too would like to know WHO ordered the ISAFP to spy on them.

if I were the Arroyo administration, I'd be very upset that my conversations with Garci were leaked to the public. I would do everything to find out and punish the people who ordered the spying. Pero bakit parang yung arroyo admin pa mismo ang uma-ayaw na imbestigahan ito? CASE CLOSED na raw. MOVE ON na.

Kung ako naman ang Opposition, I'd be willing to give somebody from ISAFP (aside from Doble) immunity if they tell us everything they know about all the spying ISAFP did on administration and opposition officials. Tama ka, misuse of the military yan for partisan political purposes eh.

But then again almost nobody cares about the Military--they are too busy accusing them of extrajudicial killings and defending the CPP NPA and their right to kill without being killed themselves as long as they claim to be part of the "parliamentary struggle."

dean, the military wasn't that popular too during marcos' time. i don't think pinoys believe majority in the military are bad. tignan mo na lang yung candidacy ni trillanes. people think highly of gudani and balutan. many people sympathize with lim and querubin et al (tignan mo na lang yung blog ni ellen).

but the current leadership of our national security team lacks credibility and are arroyo partisans. many were involved in the edsa dos coup and the Garcigate scandal.

and those who masterminded the dagdag bawas operations in 2004 and the spying on officials were probably involved in the killings of leftists too. these are bad bad people na dapat tanggalin na sa serbisyo at ipakulong.

DJB Rizalist said...

Well, John, I'm glad you agree with me. Most of the people don't see the Military the way that the Liberal Establishment does. But they dare not speak out against their "betters" either, with each person thinking he may be in the minority when really the SWS survey proves the utter failure of the Left to win over the hearts and minds of most filipinos.

But I think it can't be denied that the vocal parts of media and society were more agog over the election fraud accusations and that the Left and the Liberals LIKE the pickle the Military is in. They don't care that it is disrespected and even warred upon and make it look like the whole military was in on the cheating. There's a whole revolutionary agenda at stake, after all, not just Garci issue. Perhaps it is my familiarity with the CPP's tactics and thinking from being associated with them at one time that makes some of these things "obvious" to me. They don't want the Military to get professional and cleaned up, because that would be the end of their armed struggle and so-called revolution. They are actually far, far better at propaganda than actual war.

If the national security team lacks credibility it is at least partly due to the CPP cells in each newspaper and radio station spreading lies and propaganda every single day and chipping away at people's faith in anyone but their future workers' paradise.

If they are the alternative, definitely give me GMA!

Robert said...

Hi Rizalist - Bob Martin in Mindanao here... I saw you on ANC, both on Media in Focus and also on The Explainer today. Good to put a face with a name!

DJB Rizalist said...

Hey it's Bob in Mindanao! Welcome. Nice of you to drop by.

john marzan said...

But I think it can't be denied that the vocal parts of media and society were more agog over the election fraud accusations and that the Left and the Liberals LIKE the pickle the Military is in.

i don't think so. majority in the mainstream media were pro-arroyo then (and still are), and even refused to play the garci tapes on TV. none of the MSM want anything to do with with the airing of the tapes on TV. (kung sa US yan, malamang naiparinig na yan sa CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN/FOX/MSNBC.) mas marami at mas "well funded" ang mga pro-arroyo media at bayaran na journalists. but they were unable to pursuade the public that arroyo did not rig the elections. or reverse people's sentiment that she ought to resign.

If the national security team lacks credibility it is at least partly due to the CPP cells in each newspaper and radio station spreading lies and propaganda every single day and chipping away at people's faith in anyone but their future workers' paradise.

i said the current leadership of our national security team (military, police, DOJ, ISAFP) lacks credibility. ebdane, esperon, the gonzalezes, those behind the ISAFP wiretapping...