Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anti Terror Law Not Applicable To Congress Blast

Just after eight pm Tuesday night, ABSCBN News reported an explosion near the South Entrance of the House of Representatives Building in Quezon City.
The blast, said to have been planted in a parked motorcycle and remotely detonated, killed Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar and the chaffeur of Party List Rep. Luz Ilagan, seriously injured several others, and brought the specter of violence right to the front door of the Congress. Said to be one of the original members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Mindanao, Wahab Akbar and his two wives are the political kingpins of Basilan.

House Speaker Jose de Venecia returned to the Batasan Complex in Quezon City in the aftermath of the explosion, trying to look like the man in charge, and condemning it as an act of terrorism. That may or may not turn out to be warranted by the facts of this incident as they are uncovered, but unfortunately, the Human Security Act RA 9372 (Anti Terrorism Law) contains the following provision: Section 62 Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be automatically suspended one month before and two months after the holding of any election.

We are presently in the two month period after the Oct. 29 barangay and SK elections during which the provisions of the law are automatically suspended, supposedly to prevent the authorities from using to law against political opponents, just before, during and after elections!

The best Speaker Joe will be able to do is to prosecute whoever did this under the Revised Penal Code, as an ordinary crime. It's best to really not use RA 9372 anyway, even in terrorist cases, since it is a booby trapped law, a terrorists bill of rights that is beyond the ability of law enforcers to use effectively without exposing themselves to fines and jail time under its "human rights provisions" which far outnumber the provisions sanctioning terrorists and cannot be easily complied with.

Now of course, we do not yet really know yet exactly what happened, how, and whodunit. By chance, Ms. Sandra Cam, who became famous as a Senate witness on the inner workings of the Jueteng Industry in the Philippines, was talking by cell phone to Rep. Akbar as he was descending the steps down to his waiting automobile when the blast occurred.

The President has called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and convened the National Security Council overnight to assess the serious turn in events. Fears that martial law is about to be declared are rife in the texting realms. Interior Secretary Ronnie Puno has indicated that this may be a politically motivated assassination -- not a far-fetched idea considering the Byzantine politics of Basilan, which has been ruled by Akbar and his two politically powerful wives.

The leading theory seems to be that Wahab Akbar was targeted by a remote controlled bomb right inside the Batasan Complex.

What with an impeachment complaint, a speakership fight, and several Bribery scandals and exposes on High Boil, this is probably the last thing the Congress needs right now.

But I hope it will bring into focus certain absurdities attending the present anti terrorism legislation. The use of remote controlled car bombs as a tactic by all sorts of mean people needs to be nipped in the bud with a good firm prosecution under the new law, but things like automatic suspension for three months only brings mockery to the law. Many aspects of the Human Security Act need to be reviewed and amended if it is ever to be an effective tool against terrorist attacks.

15 comments:

Joe Padre said...

I think the tragedy that just happened at the Congress doorsteps should be an impetus to do some serious rework of the Human Security Act RA 9372 (Anti Terrorism Law) which was enacted by the same Congress at some eerie "Twilight Zone" moment when our very own lawmakers have gotten leave of their senses.

Richard said...

If the ironic circumstance of this don't bring to mind the phrase 'Hoist by his own petard', I don't know what will.

karlo m said...

I agree with you sir Dean Jorge Bocobo. The assassination angle is not far-fetched considering Basilan's feudal politics. After all, Akbar was the Basilan warlord who went after the Abu Sayyaff not so long ago. But if so, why was the assassination carried out in Congress - a symbol of the government? And why at a time when the present administration is ridden with controversies? This is the last thing they need right now.

manuelbuencamino said...

"The best Speaker Joe will be able to do is to prosecute whoever did this under the Revised Penal Code, as an ordinary crime."

At last you're making sense!

At last yoy realized that the Revised Penal Code punishes murder, attempted murder, serious physical injuries , endangering lives and all that!

Congratulations!

karlo m said...

Err, let me correct my previous comment. I meant Akbar is widely suspected to have links with the terror group, not the other way around. :)

john marzan said...

but unfortunately, the Human Security Act RA 9372 (Anti Terrorism Law) contains the following provision: Section 62 Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be automatically suspended one month before and two months after the holding of any election.

sa pagkaka-alam ko, this admin doesn't really need any anti-terror bill because it is able to do what it wants to do anyway, whether it's about abducting and detaining suspects (kung ayaw talaga nilang pakawalan yung suspect) or wiretapping political enemies.

because the arroyo admin has already arrogated additional powers for itself since hello garci. unilaterally.

i have no problems amending the bill to remove the suspension provision. because the HSA is just for show... a bill arroyo was never really intersted in passing, pero kailangang may maipakita na anti-terror bill sa boss natin. Amerika.

DJB Rizalist said...

The Law must not allow mockeries of itself, even if men do.

DJB Rizalist said...

MB,
Perhaps it is you who must come to a realization that the RPC treats ordinary acts of murder and mayhem in the same way as acts of murder and mayhem done to force the govt into illegal or unconstitutional acts and to sow widespread fear and terror.

You are arguing against the RICO anti organized crime statutes by claiming we can get at the mafia by prosecuting their criminal acts, without specifically dealing with their organized character.

It is the same with anti terrorism statutes. They merely recognize, as you continue to refuse to do so, that terrorism is a form of organized or syndicated crime with ideological and political purposes.

But yes, of course the RPC is a necessary element of any HSA prosecution. But it is not sufficient. Capisce, paisano?

manuelbuencamino said...

No DJ, I am not using the RICO argument. That's your argument and I don't buy it.

Mt argument was, is and always will be that the RPC will suffice.

Amadeo said...

Plow on, Dean. Do not be deterred by roadblocks at every turn of your quest for what you believe is the right path.

Remember the words of Einstein:

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

DJB Rizalist said...

mb,
you're not buying the RICO argument. Why? Because you don't believe that terrorism is an organized criminal activity? Or are you merely insisting that we don't need laws to go after terrorist organizations even when they are not overtly committing crimes.

For example, interfering with fund raising activities is a very effective tactic. We need special laws like HSA to do things like that.

What don't you like about the view of terrorism as organized political activity of an illegal and immoral nature?

manuelbuencamino said...

DJ,

who's going define who's what?

DJB Rizalist said...

MB,
Your insistence that RPC is "sufficient" is really wrong. It prevents us getting at the Masterminds. Only the small fish, the stooges and soldati are ever really prosecuted because of your position. That is the practical upshot of refusing to recognize the essentially organized and networked nature of the beast we are fighting.

Yak said...

djb,
good thing it isn't the three stooges you were referring to in your comment. lolz

manuelbuencamino said...

who's "we"?