Friday, July 20, 2007

BLEG: Should The Beheading Of The Ten Marines Be Prosecuted Under the Human Security Act?

To BLEG is to post a blog entry for the sole purpose of asking a question that Readers will hopefully give well-thought out answers to in the Comment Thread...


Dominique said...


Art. 134, Art. 148, Art. 248, Art. 251, Art. 262, Art. 306, among others, of the Revised Penal Code should be sufficient.

DJB Rizalist said...

The way HSA defines terrorism, these provisions of the RPC will be NECESSARY, but they wont be SUFFICIENT to give the beheaders and their co-conspirators 40 years.

It's like RICO, or anti organized crime statutes. It's not enough to get the soldati, you need to get the capos. Otherwise it's like with kidnapping where you never get the masterminds.

Dominique said...

DJB: if I had any hope that these murderers could be linked to the people who supplied them with arms, then by all means, sic the HSA on them. But who do you think supplied the arms? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I don't quite get you when you say it won't be sufficient to give the beheaders and co-conspirators 40 years. Art. 248 already defines the penalties for murder (and how committed), clearly applicable in this case. Several other articles also prescribe reclusion perpetua.

The problem, I think, is either life in the Philippines is too cheap, or the application of laws so ineffectual, that the threat of life imprisonment or death is no longer punitive nor deterrent.

DJB Rizalist said...

I am addressing the argument often enough used nowadays that "the existing laws" are enough to punish any crime associated with terrorism.

This is true. Just like before the laws against organized crime families were adopted, all the crimed committed by the soldati could be punished by existing laws.

But why did they pass RICO statutes in the US. Because the Law realized that such criminal enterprises operate in such a way that the masterminds never actually do any of the dirty work and have so many layers between them that they could never be caught.

Same here, except terrorist orgs and networks are political crime families.

Dominique said...

DJB: Unlike the MILF, the organized crime families never carried ID cards identifying them as such.

The MILF is already identified as a rebel group, and therefore can be (or should have been) prosecuted against Art. 134.

DJB Rizalist said...

I agree that ALL crimes should be prosecuted under the RPC, including terrorist crimes.

In fact, it is impossible to convict a person for terrorism WITHOUT in effect ALSO convicting him on the basis of SOME law within the RPC.

There is no crime of terrorism that does not involve and encompass some such crime. Therefore convicting someone for terrorism is MUCH HARDER than for some just the component crime.

Regarding being identified as a rebel group, that does not save anyone from culpability under the law. Otherwise, any criminal could raise the flag of revolution and claim some kind of immunity.

But no one is above the law.

What is now being criminalized under HSA however is not just the component crimes however, but the whole which is even greater than the sum of the parts.

This whole cannot actually be dealt with by just dealing with the component crimes.

Making this whole a crime in itself is an impt but dangerous step because it illegitimizes the means being employed towards what are declared to be noble goals, in some cases.

Dominique said...

"Regarding being identified as a rebel group, that does not save anyone from culpability under the law."

Precisely. Under Art. 134, rebellion is a criminal act.

But with regard to the HSA, just how far would you go when you trace this web of complicity? Would you include army generals who may have had a hand in supplying the rebels with arms (not for ideological or religious reasons, but for simple monetary gain)? Would you include local political leaders who might be in many ways already involved with MILF (and who would probably have been involved in vote-rigging)? In principle, we should. But past performance shows us it won't.

There wouldn't be a problem with the HSA if the implementing agencies were utterly trustworthy and effective. But by the same token, the HSA might not be needed if it were so.

The problem with the HSA as it stands right now is in the hand that wields it. It is selective, partial, and tainted.

Dominique said...

Or, in more practical terms: let's talk HSA AFTER they've captured and prosecuted the immediated perpetrators of the crime.

Dave Llorito said...

As per editorial of the Wall Street Journal, the HSA indeed looks like a bill of rights for terrorists. if you look at the law more closely, using the basic concept of incentives and disincentives as well as costs and benefits, there seems to be a great disincentive for the state operatives to go the "due process" route. possible result? it would be more "cost effective" to just kill the terror suspects right where they are caught.

Nag-iinano ka ba said...

" would be more 'cost effective' to kill the terror suspects right where they are caught..."

I agree with what Dave Llorito says,
besides, all that legalese don't mean much to terrorists.

Saves much of the paperwork, too.