But in his interpellation of the good Maid Miriam, Senator Francis Chiz Escudero made mincemeat of her ENTIRE speech with a simple and truly novel point that there is no Court of Record that has declared the Garci Recordings to BE illegally wiretapped material. In other words he simply demonstrated that Miriam's ENTIRE SUPPOSITION that the Garci recordings ARE illegally wiretapped materials has not been established because it has not even been established that they are wiretapped materials at all. In other words: NEGO SUPOSITUM!
But when Chiz asked her if the products of their own illegal wiretapping could be used as evidence to prosecute the wiretappers, Miriam peremptorily replied "NO!" insisting that RA 4200 forbids ANY use of illegally wiretapped materials.
I am surprised the following refutation of Miriam's weird reponse to that question was not mentioned. It is Section 3 of of RA 4200 The Antiwiretapping Law! --
RA 4200 SECTION (3A) Nothing contained in this Act, however, shall render it unlawful or punishable for any peace officer, who is authorized by a written order of the Court, to execute any of the acts declared to be unlawful in the two preceding sections in cases involving the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping as defined by the Revised Penal Code, and violations of Commonwealth Act No. 616, punishing espionage and other offenses against national security. Provided, That such written order shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and a showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been committed or is being committed or is about to be committed: Provided, however, That in cases involving the offenses of rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, and inciting to sedition, such authority shall be granted only upon prior proof that a rebellion or acts of sedition, as the case may be, have actually been or are being committed; (2) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that evidence will be obtained essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such evidence."Senator Rodolfo Biazon also interpellated Miriam and brought up the very important point that any investigation of the Garci recordings will focus on its NATIONAL SECURITY implications. That is the point this blog has been making almost since the first day that I read RA 4200 Anti wiretapping law.
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile tried to make it seem that the Garci Recordings are not covered by Section 3 crimes against national security. But is it not a clear case of ESPIONAGE committed by Filipino citizens who are also active military service men to have wiretapped the president and compromised the communications of the Commander in Chief?
Well, so much for the Poison Fruits Argument of Miriam Defensor Santiago and Dick Gordon, who really know better than they are letting on, in my opinion!
I hope the Senate investigations will indeed lead to killing several birds with one stone:
(1) To cleanse the military of wrongdoers who have prostituted the Armed Forces of the Philippines to partisan political purposes, and have demoralized and debased the honor of the Philippine Military.
(2) To establish the NATIONAL SECURITY as the highest of national priorities by securing the highest offices of the land, such as the Presidency, the Senate and the Supreme Court.
(3) To develop new legislation that will promote electoral reform and forever bar the likes of Virgilio Garcillano and his patrons from desecrating the sanctity of the ballot.
LANCING THE BOIL THAT IS THE POISON FRUITS DEFENSE:
I greatly admired the legal erudition and sheer wit of Chiz Escudero in deploying his NEGO SUPOSITUM argument, and his gentlemanliness in responding to the entirely graceless statements of his colleague in refusing to take any more questions from him because she didn't like "his premises". It was this remark of Miriam's which made me realize that that was his entire rhetoric: I DENY your premises and suppositions madame! And of course he is right, for indeed where is the proof or finding or authoritative declaration that these multitude of bits and pieces of conversations, scattered in analog tapes, digital cds and internet-downloadable MP3s are in fact WIRETAPS. No one has stated categorically with proof that these recordings are indeed illegally wiretapped materials.
I think this clearly means that Chiz Escudero understands the Antiwiretapping Law just as well as Miriam does, but he intends to apply it carefully, systematically and ethically to discover who has broken that law by indeed, illegally wiretapping the President and many other private and public personalities including Virgilio Garcillano.
He makes the very persuasive point that it must first be demonstrated that these recordings are wiretapped materials before the sanctions against possessing them may be invoked as Miriam wants to do even BEFORE such demonstration. That the Garci recordings ARE wiretappings cannot just be asserted and then believed "hook line and sinker", Chiz claims, but must be tested with questions and logic when the witness Vidal Doble makes his claims and accusations. But first he must be allowed to make those claims. Putting the cart before the horse, you are, Madame. Touche!
What the law prohibits after all is the knowing possession, dissemination and reproduction of illegally wiretapped materials. Chiz basically asks a question that destroy's the premises and suppositions on which are founded Miriam's entire discourse: How do we KNOW that these are illegally wiretapped materials and not, let us say, studio spliced recordings?
Miriam had no answer to this other than to assert again "the absolute prohibition against and absolutely inadmissibility of illegally wiretapped material for use in ANY legislative hearing or other proceeding."
This self-evidently a false claim on the face of it -- as if one did not know about Section 3 of the law! Surely, the products of a real spy's illegal wiretapping activities would be the best physical evidence of those criminal activities, as explicitly allowed for in Section (3) of RA 4200, which covers wiretapping cases involving National Security and kidnapping.
She chooses to ignore the simple fact that the "Anti-Wiretapping Law" does explicitly allow any or all of the acts she claims are prohibited absolutely, such as wiretapping, possession, replay and reproduction of wiretapped materials--before, during or after any crime against national security or in cases of kidnapping.
Chiz's accomplishment is to show how a proper prosecution of a crime against RA 4200 ought to be done.
I think Miriam Defensor Santiago has met her match, both in Law and in Logic in Chiz Escudero, BUT....
THE GOOD AND RIGHT IN MIRIAM'S POSITION: In the final analysis, and despite her shrill tone, I actually agree substantially with the effective position of Miriam to investigate with vigor the Garci Tapes WITHOUT REGARD TO THEIR CONTENT (the electoral fraud angle), and instead to focus on discovering who the Masterminds of Wiretapping are in the Philippines. This is also substantially the position of Rodolfo Biazon, to prosecute the crimes against national security implied by the wiretapping itself. Never mind the content.
But listen to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago asking "Who are these Dark Forces?" who have the ability to order even mass wiretapping?
Here is Miriam's Marvelous Rant Against the Wiretapper Mastermind! (MP3)
I wonder which DARK FORCE she was thinking off as she delivered above impassioned denunciation of the criminal wiretappers and their overlord? Could it be her ancient nemesis...
The entire Privileged Speech of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on the Garci Wiretapping Scandal is here at the Internet Archive. (MP3)
Speculation: Realizing that FVR's tit could be in the ringer on this one, I think Miriam has effectively joined the Opposition on the issue. She has adopted the position that the Senate can go after the wiretappers, but with utter disregard and even suppression of the tantalizing content relative to election fraud in the conversations. I agree with her on that to the extent that it would be premature at this stage to even tackle that barrel of monkeys about the 2004 Presidential election, whose outcome we must consider a closed matter. She does not actually join with Biazon in admitting this is about national security, but I think it'll come to the same thing as the investigation gets going.
It is that aspect of national security that I believe is of paramount importance because the Isafp wiretapping opens the entire government and private citizens to blackmail, extortion and is basically ESPIONAGE. Against this we must apply Section 1 of the antiwiretapping law, armed with the letter and spirit of Section 3.