Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Aside from "old women and young boys" the crime scene was said to be deserted except of course for the elements of Malacanang's newly formed tripartite investigating committee (one third of this being MILF representatives, ngek), who were there ahead of the police and waving them off to go back home...they need 24 more hours to tie up the loose ends of their own "independent fact finding" committee, which investigation started last Friday after the President's command conference with them in Zamboanga, far, far away.
Just behead me already!
Meanwhile, Dr. Nando Barandino, medico-legal expert of the PNP in Basilan, and a former captive of the Abu Sayyaf, reports that at least two of the fourteen dead Marines showed signs of torture before they were beheaded during the autopsy he performed on them. He makes the strongest case for an end to this savagery, by recalling the sad recent history of decapitation on Basilan.
Is it any wonder these savage crimes go on unabated when they have never been properly punished and the Rule of Law and Order established over an essentially lawless and bandit-warlord-dominated place.
I think I'm beginning to like Gordon Brown's statement following two days of talks with George W. Bush at Camp David. He said, "Terrorism is not a cause, it is a crime against humanity."
I think we SHOULD give the Sword of Justice a chance instead of the endless cycle of WAR and PEACE in Mindanao.
I don't think the the Ceasefire Committee really has any jurisdiction over what is essentially a CRIME SCENE. Let them have their peace talks in Malaysia! Let the police their job. Let the Law rule over all men, all religion, all armies, all ideologies.
I think with the Human Security Act, we really have a chance to create a viable alternative strategy in managing our unique complex of insurgencies, secessionists and nihilists.
By criminalizing terrorism, we delegitimize the terrorist tactics of the communist insurgency with its armed struggle, and the Moro separatists, without denying them their right to espouse political and ideological causes in a peaceful manner.
The War on Terror becomes the challenge of Law Enforcement, which now offers the clearest path to real peace and order.
Not the endless Peace Talks that have produced nothing but war without end.
Monday, July 30, 2007
MAR ROXAS has just served notice that he is indeed running for President of the Philippines in 2010. The Liberal Party's leader-emeritus, former Senator Jovito Salonga introduced him recently as the next President of the country. In what ABSCBN News billed as "a rare political outburst" Senator Roxas last week decried the ironic fate of the Opposition in the Senate, which does not control it, despite having clearly won the people's mandate in the midterm elections last May.
Here is how Senate President Manny Villar, in his acceptance speech to Senate colleagues last week, interpreted the May election results:
Over the years, the Senate has been the subject of much criticism and doubt, leading many to conclude that it is best to abolish it. However, the recently concluded senatorial elections only emphasized the Senate's crucial role in the balance of power among its co-equal branches of government. The overwhelming consensus was that the Philippine Senate must maintain its institutional independence, beholden to no political power but to the sovereignty of the Filipino people. No less than the will of the people validated this.He also throws in as an after-thought later in the speech that,
And yes, we will continue to carry out our investigative duties as part of our power of oversight. Shenanigans in government should never be condoned.Shenanigans? Is that what he thinks oversight is all about? Shenanigans? And to think he was the flag bearer of the Genuine Opposition.
Oh well, some say it looks like an old-style pre-Marcos Liberal Party versus Nacionalista party election shaping up in 2010. But I think Mar's gonna have problems with Loren and Ping in the Minority, just as Manny will have problems with Kiko and Chiz in the Majority, while still pleasing Gloria and JPE. Maybe Chiz will get Ways and Means and Alan Peter Cayetano the Blue Ribbon. Or maybe not, but I don't think the Senate configuration is fixed in stone by any means. It could change at any time depending on what promises are kept and what events transpire.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
ABSCBN News anchor Tony Velasquez reported on his show Crossroads Friday night in Manila, Basilan Judge Leo Principe of the 9th Regional Trial Court has issued 130 WARRANTS OF ARREST against those persons responsible for the ambush, killing and beheading-mutilation of fourteen Philippine Marines who were returning to their own camp after a fruitless search for Father Giancarlo Bossi (a kidnapped Italian priest mysteriously released a week ago.)
On Friday also, President Arroyo conducted a "command conference" on the Basilan beheadings. General Rodolfo Garcia, chief negotiator on the RP Peace Panel describes the conference and says some things about Judge Principe's warrants for arrest that gives me a sinking feeling about how this whole sorry affair is going.
I assert that Tipo-tipo is now a CRIME SCENE with Judge Principe's finding of probable cause in the murder and beheading of the Marines against 130 suspects being the beginning of what I hope will be a full prosecution under the Human Security Act. Judge Principe in effect establishes the existence of thE first element of the crime of terrorism: SAVAGE MURDER.
The Human Security Act of 2007 defines a new category of criminal activity called terrorism. In the local punditry and bloggerdom, the definition of terrorism has been a long-running controversy. Generating much of, and then pointing to these widespread disagreements, some here are saying that the definition in the law itself is VAGUE.
This point is being repeated by a lot of people in columns, broadcasts and editorials. Whereupon they usually say something that often suggests to me they’ve never READ the effin Law, but knowing most of their audience hasn’t either, they think they can get away with saying something stupid. Well, they can, with most people. This simple statistical truism is the Trade Secret of pundits and journalists in the Philippines.
I know why some of these folks are saying that the definition in HSA 2007 is vague. It is because terrorism is not a SIMPLE crime that we are already familiar with. But--and this IS the confusing part for most people—the first element of the COMPLEX crime of terrorism is a precisely defined set of just such “simpler” crimes: piracy, rebellion, insurrection, coup d’etat, murder, kidnapping, destruction, arson, illegal use of toxic and radioactive substances, hijacking, and illicit dealing in firearms, ammo and explosives.
After calling the definition vague, many critics usually segue into the line of argument that the anti-terrorism law is UNNECESSARY because we can already prosecute these component crimes under the Revised Penal Code and other laws cited in H.S.A. 2007.
But the argument is facile. One could say the exact same thing about other COMPLEX crimes like Plunder and the Organized Crime statutes, which also defined new categories of criminal activity that were themselves made up of such simpler crimes. For example the Plunder Law being used to prosecute former President Joseph Estrada is defined as “series or combination or clear pattern” of such acts as corruption, graft, estafa, embezzlement, theft of public funds, etc. Yet none of these same critics of 2007HSA would call the plunder law “unnecessary” just because we could prosecute for the component crimes. Indeed as Estelito Mendoza recently explained on tv, plunder is NOT just those component crimes, but the series or combination of them. In other words, the whole of the crime of plunder is more than the sum of its parts. Take a complex mechanical contraption, like an automobile. It is clearly more than just the engine, tires, doors and electronics put together. It is the entire assembly we call a car that is the whole thing. Likewise terrorism is more than just the odd train bombing in Manila, or blown up super ferries, or disappeared ideological rivals, or the occasional beheading or ten.
But here is the definition of terrorism from HAS-2007, without the long list of component crimes:
SECTION 3. Terrorism. – Any person who  commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:The items ,  and  are nowadays referred to as the elements of this new crime of terrorism and I am sure there will be much more discussion of the definition in the months and years ahead.
[…enumeration of laws punishing the component crimes of terrorism…]
 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.
One of the interesting controversies that will surely arise in regard to Element  is whether or not a crime of terrorism exists if the intent to sow and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, fails.
For surely, it is in the public interest that no matter what chaos or mayhem or destruction some future terrorist causes, that the populace not succumb to fear and panic.
So my answer to the question is NO, it is not necessary that there actually BE a reaction of widespread fear and panic to some terrorist act. It is enough that the intent to cause such fear and panic be proved. In general this would seem to be a very difficult thing to do. But I’ve come to realize that it might not be so hard in certain cases in which the acts themselves evince the presence of such evil intent. For example, if someone threatens to poison the water supply or disseminate radioactive waste, or to release a deadly biological agent, that would suggest to most reasonable men an intention to sow widespread fear and panic.
Element  is even more clearly about intent and motive as being a defining characteristic of the crime of terrorism (which makes the crime very difficult to prosecute and prove, UNLESS, it becomes obvious in the outrageous nature of the act itself that there is a clear intent to coerce the government to give in to an illegal demand.
This element is the political or ideological element of the complex crime of terrorism. Taken in the abstract, this may seem like a sticky subject, again unless the acts and context involved are redolent of political coercion of the government, such as in the cases of insurgents (CPP-NPA), secessionists (MILF), and global jihadists (Abu Sayyaf, JI, AQ).
As with most laws, it is not theoretical disputation over HSA2007 that will settle things and make them clearer. It is real events involving real people that will clarify what the polity shall make of its Law and the definitions therein.
THE BASILAN BEHEADINGS AS A TEST CASE FOR HUMAN SECURITY ACT OF 2007
Counterterrorism Blog has an excellent background summary on this incident which occurred on Tuesday 10 July 2007 near Tipo-tipo on Basilan Island in southern Philippines:
On 10 July, a group of 80 Philippine Marines were patrolling Guinanta village in the Tipo Tipo area of Basilan, Island, just south of Zamboanga, when they were ambushed by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and quite possibly members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). 14 marines were killed, 10 of those were decapitated, and nine more were wounded. That the MILF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) clashed is not in doubt and both have acknowledged the conflict. But those are about the only facts the two sides agree.ABSCBN NEWS lists the names of the Philippine Marines killed and mutilated:
The Marines killed in that clash were Privates First Class Emmanuel Beup, Reuben Doronio Jr., Freddie Palma Jr., Elizar Semeniano, Arjorin Alezar, Jhonard Allanza and Wilfredo Lamban; Pvt. Emilio Lachica Jr.; Cpl. Russel Panaga; Sgts. Rey Callueng, Gerardo Licup and Cayetano Simbangon; S/Sgt. Bernard Abes and T/Sgt. Noel Bautista.This crime qualifies as good test case for Human Security Act. Many of those who have opposed the Act on political and ideological grounds are really at at a loss about how to deal with the Basilan Beheadings. I think most them realize it IS an almost ideal case to test the validity and Constitutionality of the HSA, and that the beheadings really ARE terrorist crimes.
But if such a terrorist crime were to be successfully prosecuted this close to the HSA coming into effect, it would surely refute many of the arguments of those who oppose it.
I think this is precisely why they refuse to admit the obvious, that the Basilan Beheadings were terrorist crimes, and why they want the whole thing dealt with again in the quagmire and quicksand of PEACE TALKS.
They cannot bring themselves to admit how RIGHT the law is on terrorism.
Friday, July 27, 2007
It has not yet dawned on a lot of people that the advent of the HUMAN SECURITY ACT of 2007 changes the character of what I call the TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT between the Philippine Government and its various enemies in the Communist Insurgency (CPP-NPA), in Moro Warlord Secessionism (MNLF, MILF), and in the Global Jihad (Al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, Rajah Solaiman Movement).
For one thing, I believe HSA 2007 effectively decouples the so-called PEACE PROCESS (which has resulted in nothing but war without end), from the imperatives of LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Whatever legitimacy one wishes to accord the so-called Peace Talks with any of the insurgents, rebels and beheader brigands, it ought to be accepted by more government officials, especially the likes of Jess Dureza, who is the Cabinet Officer in charge of the Peace Process, that they are only in charge of the peace process, and not the whole government responsibility when it comes to dangerous organized private armies and irregular guerrilla forces.
Jess Dureza, excuse me, is not responsible for the discharge of the duties of the Philippine Military, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies of the government. He is merely in charge of the those tete-a-tetes with Joma Sison and al-Hadj Murad. I wish him all the luck and hope his efforts pay off.
But he has no right to be dictating policy or telling the Armed Forces and the Police how to do their jobs, or when and where. We must be a nation of laws and not Alfred E. Neuman.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Comparison of the Panganiban Formula and the Rizalist Algorithm Applied to the 2007 Party List Results
As the "First Party" under the Panganiban Formula, Buhay has indeed been awarded one seat for exceeding the 2 percent threshold and two additional seats for scoring above 6%. The "PANG" column in the Table below shows how many seats are awarded to the other parties based on the Panganiban formula, which is calculated by taking the ratio of votes garnered by each party and that garnered by the First Party multiplied by the number of seats awarded to the First Party (in this case, 3). But as a result of the Panganiban Formula, only TEN of the Party Lists that ran will get seats, and SEVEN of those that met the 2% threshold WILL NOT get a seat. Under the Panganiban Formula, only THIRTEEN SEATS will be awarded to the Party List System, even though 52% of the voters chose a party list on their ballot.
|Nb: 29,984,421 ballots were cast on May 14, out of which a total of 15,703,067 or 52 percent voted for a party list candidate. |
|Nb: The figure in red 22.47 represents the mathematical number of seats that should go to the Party List System under strict proportionality, but of course it cannot be met exactly due to the four constraints. But the number of seats awarded under the Rizalist Algorithm is closer to this "ideal" number of seats than the niggardly 13 awarded under the Panganiban Formula.|
Under the Rizalist Algorithm, the first step is the calculate the TOTAL NUMBER OF SEATS that are available for award to the qualifying party list organizations, equal to the percentage of the ballots with party list votes multiplied by twenty percent of the authorized maximum number of House Seats (250 under the 1987 Constitution and never yet changed by Law). Thus for 2007, the Rizalist Algorithm would make 26 House Seats available for awarding to the party list groups, subject to the constraints of the Four Inviolable Parameters of Panganiban (proportionality, 2% threshold, 3 Seat maximum and 20% of House). As seen in the Table, the Algorithm would award 26 seats as follows: all 17 party lists with at least 2% of the vote will get at least one seat; and the Top 9 ranking parties will each get 2 seats. NO party gets three seats in 2007 under the Rizalist Algorithm.
The Table of results above clearly exposes a major shortcoming of the Panganiban Formula. Although it purports to uphold the Four Inviolable Parameters, its implementation has resulted in seven parties not being awarded seats despite having garnered 2% of the Party List Vote, and despite the fact that giving them each at least one seat, does not in fact violate any of the other three parameters.
This indicates that the Panganiban Formula is not an "optimal" implementation of what is essentially a problem in LINEAR PROGRAMMING and optimization. It actually violates the principle that a party list qualifies for a seat by gaining a threshold of 2%, and should get one if it does not cause a violation of the other parameters.
HOW MANY MEMBERS OF THE LOWER HOUSE ARE THERE?
This is a surprisingly tricky question to answer with any sort of precision because while the maximum number of Party List Representatives is more or less fixed, it is always possible for there to be ZERO party list reps if none of them meet the 2 percent threshold. The Lower House has two kinds of Members: District Representatives who are elected by voters in local Congressional Districts and Sectoral Representatives elected by the voters at large under the Party List System. During the 13th Congress there were 230 Members in all, with 23 Party List Reps (10%) and 212 District Reps (90%).
Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list.
Unlike the number of Congressional Districts which is known before the elections and fixed by law, the actual number of seats awarded to the Party List is variable and depends on how well they do against each other.
Here is a curious fact. The NUMBER OF SEATS in the House of Representatives that will actually be occupied by Party List representatives after each election is NOT KNOWN until after the election results are tallied, under the present system which is called the Panganiban Formula. Curioser, under the Panganiban Formula the total number of Congressional seats awarded to the Party List System does NOT depend on the total number of votes cast at-large for the Party Lists but only on their relative performance against each other.
In Law, Mathematics and the Party List System former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban gives an authoritative summary of the procedure now in use for implementing the Party List System in the Philippines:
The Panganiban Formula: Simply stated, the initial step, under this methodology, is to determine the additional seats to be given the party obtaining the highest number of votes. If the topnotcher or “first party” obtains four or more but less than 6 percent of the total votes cast, it gets one more seat. If it garners six or more percent, then it gets the maximum two seats. The additional seats to be given the rest of the qualified parties can be “proportionately” computed by dividing the number of votes of the concerned party by the number of votes the topnotcher garnered, multiplied by the number of seats allocated to the topnotcher.Those four parameters are derived from both the 1987 Constitution's pertinent provisions and R.A. 7941 (The Party List Law):
First, the twenty percent allocation—the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list; “Second, the two percent threshold—only those parties garnering a minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are ‘qualified’ to have a seat in the House of Representatives; “Third, the three-seat limit—each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats, that is, one ‘qualifying’ and two additional seats; (and) “Fourth, proportional representation—the additional seats which a party is entitled to shall be computed ‘in proportion to their total number of votes.’”
To see that the Panganiban Formula does not take into account the total number of votes cast for the Party List System, consider a very simple example. In Election Year No. 1 a total of 100 million voters cast ballots. Of this number only 10 million voters or 10% of the electorate cast votes for the Party Lists. Suppose that during this election only one Party List group breaks the 2% threshold, garnering let us say 2.1% of all the votes cast for the Party Lists, while all the others get less than 2%. In this case it is very clear that the total number of seats awarded to the Party List System in that election will be ONE SEAT.
Now suppose in a subsequent Election No. 2, that again 100 million voters turnout to cast ballots, but this time 20 million of them, or 20% of the electorate, decide to vote for a Party List group of their choice, twice as many in absolute numbers and percentage wise as in the previous election.
Suppose further that in Election No. 2, EXACTLY the same results obtain: the same party list gets 2.1% of the votes cast for the party-lists, whilst all the others garner 1.9% of the votes cast for the party lists.
Thus in Election No. 2, despite the fact that every single party list got twice as many voters casting ballots for it , despite the fact that twice as many voters cast ballots for the Party List System in Election No. 2, the Party List System will still only get ONE SEAT under the Panganiban Formula, same as in Election No. 1!
I think that this result puts into serious doubt the claim made by the former Chief Justice Art Panganiban that his Formula obeys the Principle of Proportionality in an optimum way. One curious consequence of his Formula, for example, is that it gets EASIER to win a Party List seat as the number of votes for the Party List System as whole goes down because it needs a smaller absolute number of votes to get 2% of the smaller total number of votes cast for the Party List System. In other words, it gets easier to be elected through the Party List System the LESS the electorate participates in it! Conversely, qualifying party lists are not rewarded proportionally under the Panganiban Formula for even 100% improvement in their actual vote totals from one election to another.
Is there a viable alternative to the Panganiban Formula? Yes! Here it is...
RIZALIST'S ALGORITHM for the PARTY LIST
STEP 1. The first step in this procedure is to determine from the election results HOW MANY seats in Congress have been won by the Party List System. The number of seats won by the Party List System shall be equal to one-fifth of the maximum number of seats in Congress (as of 2007 this maximum number is 250 as set by the 1987 Constitution and has not been increased or decreased by Congress since.) MULTIPLIED BY THE PERCENTAGE OF THE VOTERS WHO ALSO VOTE FOR A PARTY LIST CANDIDATE. Thus the Party List System will be entitled to the full twenty percentum or fifty seats only when 100% of the voters cast ballots for a Party List candidate. If less that 1% of the voters cast ballots for a Party List Candidate, then there will be less than one seat won by the Party List System, in which case NO SEAT will be awarded even if some party list gets say 50% of the miniscule vote. Step One automatically guarantees compliance with the Twenty Percent Rule, which is Panganiban's First Inviolable Parameter.
STEP 2: From the election results the Qualifying Party List Candidates are those that garner at least two percent (2%) of all the votes cast for the Party List System and become qualified for a Party List Seat in Congress, subject to availability and the Steps below. Step 2 fulfills the Two Percent Threshold Rule, Panganiban's Second Inviolable Parameter.
STEP 3: The number of Seats available to the Party List System found in Step One will now be distributed to the Qualifying Party List Candidates found in Step 2. The first available Seat is awarded to the Qualifying Party List which garnered the highest number of votes in the election. The second seat to the next highest vote getter, and so on until either all the Seats have been awarded or all the Qualifiers have received their first seat during a first round of seat assignments. Whereupon, if there are still Seats available a second and subsequent round of assignments is undertaken until all the Seats have been assigned, or all the Qualifiers have received the maximum of 3 Seats.
The third step imposes the 3 seat maximum limit, Panganiban's Third Inviolable Parameter. And of course a stronger version of Proportionality is implemented by all three Steps, built right into Step 1, which makes the total number of Seats given to the Party List System directly proportional (within rounding errors) to the number of voters who participate in the Party List System.
Under the present Panganiban Formula the total number of Congressional seats awarded to the Party List System does NOT depend on the total number of votes cast at-large for the Party Lists. It only depends on the RELATIVE PERFORMANCE of the party lists running against each other.
Under Rizalist's Algorithm, and compared to Panganiban's Formula, what would have happened to our putative First Party Topnotcher who gets 2.1% of the votes cast for the Party List System in both of two successive elections but in which twice as many voters vote for Party Lists in the second election compared to the first? Suppose that in Election No.One, 5% vote for Party Lists and in Election No. Two, 10% vote for Party Lists.
Under the Panganiban Formula this First Party will get the same ONE SEAT in both elections, despite garnering say 20,000,000 votes in the second one and only 10,000,000 in the first one (not a population growth effect!).
Under Rizalist's Algorithm, the total number of seats available to the Party Lists in Election No. 1 will be 5% of 50 seats or 2.5 seats, which rounds up to three seats or rounds down to two seats. To be conservative let's just call this 2 seats. In Election No. 1, the First (and only qualifying party above 2%, by assumption), would get 2 SEATS. In Election No. 3, the same party would get 3 seats.
In both cases the Rizalist Algorithm awards more seats than the Panganiban Formula, yet it employs a "stronger" tenet of proportionality.
And I think it is a far more elegant and likely to produce a "more optimum" solution.
In order to compare the Panganiban Formula with the Rizalist Algorithm, imagine that (1) the number of ballots cast in a given election is 100 million votes; (2) 100 party list groups run and each one gets 2% of the votes cast for the Party List. In other words, let us imagine a series of election scenarios in which 100 party list groups qualify for a House Seat by making the 2% threshold. Tthe only variable is how many voters participate in the Party List System out of an assumed total of 100 million ballots cast. Now let us compare how SEATS will be distributed under the two systems under varying degrees of voter participation in the Party List System:
Number of Votes Cast for the Party List System out of 100 million
|Percent Turnout for Party Lists|| |
NO. SEATS FOR THE PARTY LISTS Panganiban Formula
|NO. SEATS FOR THE PARTY LISTS Rizalist Algorithm|
In this thought experiment, the Party List groups all do equally well and one hundred of them actually qualify for a Congress Seat. Under the Panganiban Formula all the Party List groups get the same one seat each no matter how well the Party List System itself does with the electorate.
Under the Rizalist Algorithm, the Constitutional dictum to use a "uniform and progressive ratio" for the Party List System is explicitly fulfilled. If only 10% of the voters cast ballots for the Party Lists, then only 10% or 5 of the maximum of 50 seats available will actually be awarded to the Party Lists, and only the Top Five party lists will get a single seat. All 100 of them get seats only if 100% of the electorate participates in the Party List System.
This extreme case reveals the essential non-proportionality of the Panganiban Formula.
Under this extreme case, the Rizalist Algorithm may also be criticized, of course, because not all the party list groups that actually meet the 2% threshold will be awarded a seat in the Lower House.
But this extreme case is highly unlikely to occur and is presented merely to illustrate the point about proportionality. Under more realist scenarios, however, the Rizalist Algorithm still beats out the Panganiban Formula, IMHO.
Consider for example a second scenario. Suppose that in an election where again 100% of the electorate votes for a Party List candidate so that the full twenty percentum or 50 House seats are available to be awarded to them. But instead of 100 party lists each getting precisely 2% of the 100 million votes, what we have is the following distribution of votes garnered by just ten parties:
PARTY LIST GROUP
Percent of PartY List Vote
Seats Won (Panganiban Formula)
Seats Won (Rizalist Algorithm)
(PLS Turnout 100% 50 seats available)
Seats Won (Rizalist Algorithm)
(PLS Turnout 50% 25 seats available)
Seats Won (Rizalist Algorithm)
(PLS Turnout 30% 15 seats available)
Seats Won (Rizalist Algorithm)
(PLS Turnout 10% 5 seats available)
In this thought experiment we now have ten party list groups running in the election, with all but one of them garnering 2% or more of the votes cast for the Party List System. Notice that under the Panganiban Formula the party list groups get the exact same number of seats no matter what their overall performance at the polls measured by the total number of votes they all get.
1. The Panganiban Formula does not implement an "optimum" version of Proportionality. In fact, it could be asserted that the Formula actually violates Proportionality by being independent of the parameter that seems to be the natural candidate to be the PROPORTIONALITY PARAMETER that determines the TOTAL NUMBER of seats won by the Party List System, namely, the percent of the ballots cast that have votes for a party list group.
2. The Panganiban Formula actually gives parametric primacy of place to the 3-Seat Maximum Rule, and guarantees compliance with it by assigning all groups qualifying under the 2 percent threshold seats in proportion to their votes RELATIVE to the number of seats given to the "First Party". This however, only maximizes the "quantization error" associated with the fact that only an integral number of seats can ever be awarded.
The Rizalist Algorithm suffers from none of these criticisms and explicitly obeys the Four Inviolable Parameters of the Constitution and the Party List Law.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Just a friendly invitation to you beheaders in Basilan, from your future room and bunkmates in a Cebu penitentiary.
It is of course difficult to understand why a country like the Philippines, which was attacked by Al Qaeda long before 9/11, only now passed anti-terrorism legislation, first proposed by Juan Ponce Enrile following the first World Trade Center bombings which were hatched, planned and launched from some brothel or condo in Malate or Makati.
Unlike almost every other country in the global anti-terrorist alliance, the Philippine Republic faces not one, not two, but three major threats to the very survival of its duly constituted government and its democratic political system. Various groups such as CPP-NPA, the MILF, the MNLF, the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Qaeda have long term objectives to which ends they employ a variety of legal and illegal means and methods:
(1) They use or threaten to use deadly violence, especially against civilians. They maintain guerrilla units, irregular armed forces, subterranean cells and networks of agents and cadre, ready to carry out essentially violent, paramilitary operations, (including the treacherous ambush and savage mass beheading of uniformed Philippine Marines, the kidnapping of big and tall Christian missionaries, and the rape and "wifing" of innocent young women). Kidnapping for ransom is a major source of livelihood, as well as highly organized extortion and protection rackets, alleged drug manufacturing and distribution, and various other criminal enterprises.
(2) They develop and deploy powerful domestic and transnational propaganda machines and front organizations that project positions, demands, rationalizations and provide cover, financing, logistics and communications channels for the most dangerous and committed of the core and leading elements of each threat group.
At this point, several questions suggest themselves:
Why have these groups been able to achieve such longevity? With such passion and noble intentions, why have groups like the CPP NPA neither won nor lost their people's revolutionary war in nearly half a century of trying? Why have they not in fact won over the hearts and minds of the Filipino people to their perfervid cause and achieved glorious victory by now? Conversely, why have these movements survived the persistent attempts of the government to neutralize them militarily and to neutralize them politically?
Why can neither side seem to win or seem to lose?!
Some people would say the durability of the communist insurgency is due to "root causes" and even justify the existence and operations of such groups as legitimate or unavoidable responses to persistent poverty and injustice. But such arguments leave me cold, since I think there will always be some root cause for human dissatisfaction or outrage, but that can never justify the methods being employed to achieve even noble sounding goals.
So I think we should not ascribe to root causes the longevity of an insurgency that has no hope of winning since the Filipino people have rejected them along with most of the rest of humanity. There is also the proven technology of guerrilla warfare itself, in which a very small group of people can indeed survive for a very long time without achieving outright victory, yet preventing the established government from either eliminating them or succeeding in its own tasks.
All of our famous insurgent groups provide a major source of livelihood to their recruits and fighters in the large scale criminal enterprises of extortion, protection rackets, blackmail, kidnapping for ransom and even alleged drug dealing and manufacturing. They all do a heck of a lot more these sorts of things--to put bread on the insurgent table--than any patriotic revolutionizing.
Throughout the years, the government's response to these serious and deadly threats have been either "all-out war" or "peace talks" neither of which seems to be working out very well, considering how long in the tooth the communist and Moro insurgencies have lasted. An interesting recent development has been the involvement of foreign third parties and organizations in the RP-Insurgent "peace talks" notably Norway and the Netherlands in the case of the CPP-NPA and Malaysia and the Organization of Islamic Conf-erence in the case of the MILF-ASG.
During the recent unpleasantries involving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front one thing has become clear to many people about those peace talks with the folks that want to turn Mindanao into Bangsamorostan. It is simply this. Whether or not PEACE TALKS are held and succeed depends not only on the Philippine Government, but also on the MILF. If they are busy beheading our soldiers, denying the atrocities and harboring fugitives from human decency, if they refuse to surrender the already identified perpetrators of those decapitations, it seems to me perverse and self-defeating for us to be crying loudly about "saving the peace talks," or "maintaining an open mind." Likewise, the CPP-NPA has cynically used the interminable peace talks with the government as an international soap-box for Jo-Mao's peculiar brand of remote control revolution and ongoing propaganda.
Is there an alternative to the vicious cycle between "all out war" and "peace talks" in resolving the communist insurgency, Moro secessionism and the global jihad? Is there an alternative to what is essentially an almost purely defensive military response to insurgent challenges that are far more sophisticated politically and highly adept at propaganda and media exploitation?
I think there is. It is called the Human Security Act of 2007 and it changes the entire strategy for dealing with all three of the major terrorist threat groups.
HSA 2007 substitutes LAW ENFORCEMENT and INTELLIGENCE GATHERING for the current vicious cycle of ALL-OUT WAR and PEACE TALKS.
By defining a new category of violent, organized crime, we make illegal and illegitimate the most destructive of the "means and methods" employed by all three threat groups, without necessarily proscribing their ideologies or objectives.
Now of course in the particular case of the groups already mentioned, the OBJECTIVES of the core and leading groups are themselves explicitly illegitimate, since they all seek to overthrow the Philippine government and political system, putting in its place either a Worker's Paradise or Bangsamorostan within a greater Maphilindostan.
However, it also happens that each of these terrorist corps are also part of a continuous social spectrum of persons, organizations, movements and persuasions, not all of whom share the maximum program of these groups, even if they may be in open sympathy and support for them.
HSA 2007 is like the Plunder Law, which also created a distinct and separate new category of criminal activity that was composed of other criminal acts already punished separately under the Revised Penal Code and other laws. The Human Security Act of 2007 also defines a new category of crime in which the crime is the pattern and series of acts performed by a combination of people conspiring to commit such acts, or cause them to be done by others, with the clear intent of "coercing the government to give in to an illegal demand" -- i.e., some monumental political or ideological objective.
I don't think it represents a very high order of abstraction to assert that existing laws against those component crimes are necessary but not sufficient to deal with the problem in its entirety. The whole of the insurgent enterprise is far greater than the sum of its parts. Like organized crime families such as Mafia, it is the family that counts, not its individual members.
HSA defines three elements of the crime of terrorism. First, acts already punished by the Revised Penal Code and other laws. Second, the intent to coerce the government into some demand; and third the element of fear and panic:
Clearly, we do not want the populace to BE terrorized by acts of terror intended to have that effect on them of inciting widespread and extraordinary fear and panic. Therefore, I think that any reasonable interpretation of this element of the new crime must be taken to mean that a clear INTENT to sow and create such fear and panic must be established to prosecute for a crime of terrorism. As Prof. Clarita Carlos of UP pointed out on tv recently, this area of "intent" and "motivation" is a very tricky and gray area of the Law. I agree. But I think that is merely the challenge of prosecuting this new crime under a new law that David Llorito in the Comment Thread describes as a Terrorists Bill of Rights.
Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code: 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"
I think there would be cases in which the nature of the acts themselves would bespeak of such malevolent intent. For example, suppose the food or water supply were attacked with toxic agents or radioactive material scattered around in public places. Such acts would be construed as redolent of the intent to create and sow fear and panic, EVEN IF it does not actually succeed and the people don't stampede.
Speaking of communists here is PDI Money's Honesto General lambasting the CBCP for its perpetual silence when it comes to the CPP NPA. Choice quote:
The bishops have not been able to keep their mouths shut on almost any publicity. But, incredibly, the CBCP has not said one single word about the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the communist groups in the cities, such as Bayan Muna, Akbayan, Partido ng Manggagawa, Anak Pawis, Gabriela and Migrante (have I missed anyone?).
It looks like the CBCP views these communist groups in the cities as part of the democratic scene. If so, CBCP is looking at the communist problem from the wrong end.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Full Text is also here...STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO DURING THE 2ND REGULAR SESSION OF THE 13TH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
25 JULY 2005
THANK YOU, SPEAKER DE VENECIA.
VICE PRESIDENT DE CASTRO; PRESIDENT RAMOS; SENATE PRESIDENT DRILON AND THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE; MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; CHIEF JUSTICE DAVIDE AND THE MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY; ARCHBISHOP FRANCO AND THE EXCELLENCIES OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS; FELLOW GOVERNMENT WORKERS WHETHER ELECTED, APPOINTED OR CIVIL SERVANTS; DISTINGUISHED GUESTS; LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
EVERY YEAR, WE MEET ON THIS DAY IN THIS GREAT HALL TO CELEBRATE DEMOCRACY AND TAKE STOCK OF THE NATION: THE COUNTRY AND ITS CONDITION; THE GOVERNMENT AND ITS PERFORMANCE; THE PEOPLE AND THEIR WELL-BEING.
OURS IS A COUNTRY DIVIDED; THE STORY OF OUR NATION IS A TALE OF TWO PHILIPPINES; ALMOST, AS IT WERE, TWO COUNTRIES UNDER THE SAME NAME.
ONE IS THE PHILIPPINES WHOSE ECONOMY, AFTER LONG YEARS OF CUMULATIVE NATIONAL ENDEAVOR, IS NOW POISED FOR TAKE OFF. THE OTHER IS THE PHILIPPINES WHOSE POLITICAL SYSTEM, AFTER EQUALLY LONG YEARS OF DEGENERATION, HAS BECOME A HINDRANCE TO PROGRESS.
AS A COUNTRY ON THE VERGE OF TAKE OFF, OUR STORYLINE WOULD SURPRISE MANY AT HOME AND ABROAD. THE STORY INCLUDES AN ECONOMY THAT GREW MORE THAN 6% LAST YEAR AND THAT HAS CONTINUED TO WORK IN THE TEETH OF THE BIGGEST OIL PRICE HIKES IN HISTORY, WHILE GENERATING 4 MILLION JOBS IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS.
THE STORY INCLUDES MARKED IMPROVEMENTS IN TAX COLLECTIONS, INFRASTRUCTURE HOUSING CONSTRUCTION, SHELTER, SECURITY FOR THE URBAN POOR AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, AND RICE PRODUCTIVITY.
THE STORY INCLUDES 69 MILLION BENEFICIARIES OF HEALTH CARE INSURANCE, INCLUDING 30 MILLION INDIGENTS, WHOSE RE-ENROLLMENT STARTED EARLY THIS YEAR AND IS STILL ONGOING.
THAT SAME STORY, OVER FOUR YEARS, SAW THE DRUG MENACE CUT IN HALF, THE RASH OF KIDNAPPINGS BECOME A THING OF THE PAST, AND INSURGENCY IN THE SOUTH ABATED.
THIS STORY SHOULD WORK ITSELF OUT AS ONE ABOUT AN ECONOMY AS RESILIENT AND FULL OF POTENTIAL AS ITS PEOPLE ARE PATIENT AND HARDWORKING, GUIDED BY A GOVERNMENT – WITH THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATIVE HAND-IN-HAND -- THAT IS ABLE TO PASS A NO-NONSENSE BUDGET AND MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS TO PUT OUR FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER.
I SPECIALLY REFER TO OUR RECENT TITANIC STRUGGLE TO ENACT THE THREE LAWS THAT COMPRISED THE BIGGEST FISCAL PACKAGE IN OUR HISTORY, THE BIGGEST REVENUE INCREASE IN A GENERATION THAT WILL BREAK THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF FINANCING DEVELOPMENT BY BORROWING AND HAVING TO BORROW AGAIN JUST TO SERVICE THOSE LOANS. THIS IS THE ONE REFORM THAT WILL SNAP THE CHAIN THAT HAS BOUND OUR FUTURE TO A PROFLIGATE PAST AND THE DEBT-BURDENED PRESENT. THE FILIPINO'S STRONG SENSE OF FAMILY HAS GIVEN CONGRESS A STRONGER RESOLVE NOT TO PASS ON TODAY'S DEBT, AND BANKRUPT OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TOMORROW. THAT STRUGGLE HAS DONE THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE GREAT HONOR. CONGRATULATIONS.
ABROAD, THE STORY CONTINUES. WE’VE WORKED LONG AND HARD TO RESTORE OUR COUNTRY TO THE PROMINENT PLACE IT ONCE HELD AS CO-FOUNDER OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE FREE WORLD'S FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE IN THE EAST. WE WON A SEAT IN THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL, WHERE WE PRESIDED OVER THE LANDMARK RESOLUTION CALLING FOR DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ. THE PHILIPPINES CHAIRED THE HISTORIC CONFERENCE ON INTERFAITH COOPERATION FOR PEACE AT THE UN, THE FRUIT OF A BOLD AND CREATIVE INITIATIVE BY YOUR SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE.
WE HEAD THE APEC ANTI-TERRORISM TASK FORCE. OUR VICTORIES IN THE WAR ON TERROR HAVE BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY NO LESS THAN PRESIDENT BUSH BEFORE THE U.S. NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY. THE JEMAAH ISLAMIYA AND THE ABU SAYYAF CAN ONLY PICK UP THE PIECES OF ITS BROKEN BACKBONE IN MINDANAO.
WE’VE WORKED WITH THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE TO FORGE PEACE WITH OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS. EIGHTY PERCENT OF OUR PEACE TALKS WITH THEM HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. PERMANENT PEACE IN MINDANAO IS WITHIN REACH.
INDEED, OUR STORY AS A COUNTRY ON THE VERGE OF TAKE OFF IS REAL. ANALYSTS NEED ONLY TO LOOK AT OUR STOCK MARKET, AND EVEN THE PESO-DOLLAR EXCHANGE RATE, TO SENSE THE STRONG ANTICIPATION OF SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS, IF ONLY WE WOULD OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO BE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY.
THUS, WITH INVESTORS BOTH HERE AND ABROAD IN MIND, I INVITE YOU ALL TO JOIN ME IN SENDING THEM A STRONG MESSAGE FROM THIS GREAT HALL: WE WILL NOT WAVER IN OUR COMMITMENT TO ECONOMIC REFORM AND FISCAL DISCIPLINE, WHATEVER THE POLITICAL COST.
THE OTHER MESSAGE TO SEND IS THAT WE WILL ADDRESS THE BURDEN THAT THE OTHER PHILIPPINE STORY IMPOSES ON OUR ANTICIPATED TAKE OFF. I REFER TO THE STORY OF HOW OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS NOW BECOME A HINDRANCE TO OUR NATIONAL PROGRESS.
OVER THE YEARS, OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS DEGENERATED TO THE EXTENT THAT IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ANYONE TO MAKE ANY HEADWAY YET KEEP HIS HANDS CLEAN. TO BE SURE, THE SYSTEM IS STILL CAPABLE OF ACHIEVING GREAT REFORMS. BUT, BY AND LARGE, OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM HAS BETRAYED ITS PROMISE TO EACH NEW GENERATION OF FILIPINOS, NOT A FEW OF WHOM ARE VOTING WITH THEIR FEET, GOING ABROAD AND LEAVING THAT SYSTEM BEHIND.
PERHAPS WE POLITICIANS HAVE DONE OUR BEST; BUT MAYBE OUR BEST IS NOT ENOUGH, GIVEN THE PRESENT SYSTEM. PERHAPS WE HAVE STRAINED THE PRESENT POLITICAL SYSTEM TO ITS FINAL LIMIT.
IT IS TIME TO TURN TO THE PEOPLE, BRING THEM INTO GOVERNMENT -- AND CHANGE THE WAY THAT GOVERNMENT IS DONE.
THE PEOPLE WANT GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR THEM AT EVERY LEVEL. THEY WANT GOOD GOVERNMENT THAT BEGINS AT THEIR DOORSTEP IN THE BARANGAY, AND DOES NOT END BEFORE THE CLOSED DOOR OF A BUREAUCRAT IN METRO MANILA.
THE SYSTEM CLEARLY NEEDS FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE, AND THE SOONER THE BETTER. IT'S TIME TO START THE GREAT DEBATE ON CHARTER CHANGE.
WE MUST ADDRESS SUCH QUESTIONS AS HOW MUCH MORE GOVERNMENT IS NEEDED FOR THE GREATER SAFETY AND ECONOMIC SECURITY OF OUR PEOPLE, AND HOW MUCH LESS GOVERNMENT IS MORE CONDUCIVE TO FREE ENTERPRISE AND ECONOMIC PROGRESS.
THE MODE OF CHARTER CHANGE IS THE EXCLUSIVE PREROGATIVE OF CONGRESS. BUT A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MAY WELL GIVE OUR PEOPLE THE QUICKEST REFORMS.
I SHALL WORK WITH CONGRESS, CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVES WHO ARE CONVINCED THAT CHARTER CHANGES ARE NEEDED TO ENABLE THE COUNTRY TO SURMOUNT THE UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY.
I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVES WHO HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT AN LGU POWER REVOLUTION THROUGH TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP.
THE ECONOMIC PROGRESS AND SOCIAL STABILITY OF THE PROVINCES, ALONG WITH THE INCREASING SELF-RELIANCE AND EFFICIENCY OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND PUBLIC SERVICES THERE, MAKE A COMPELLING CASE FOR FEDERALISM.
PERHAPS IT'S TIME TO TAKE THE POWER FROM THE CENTER TO THE COUNTRYSIDE THAT FEEDS IT.
I RECOGNIZE THAT OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT WILL BE THE DECISION OF THE BODY CONSTITUTED TO UNDERTAKE CHARTER CHANGE. BUT WE SHOULD CONSIDER THAT LEGISLATION COULD BE QUICKENED AND LAWS MADE MORE RESPONSIVE TO THE PEOPLE UNDER A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, SIMILAR TO THAT OF OUR PROGRESSIVE NEIGHBORS IN THE REGION.
BUT EVEN AS WE MAKE A SERIOUS START IN CHARTER CHANGE, I HOPE WE CAN STILL WORK TOGETHER ON OTHER INITIATIVES TO THE LASTING BENEFIT OF OUR PEOPLE.
IN THE AREA OF EDUCATION, WE'VE SPENT OUR INCREASED RESOURCES ON BETTER TRAINED TEACHERS IN MORE CLASSROOMS, TEACHING STUDENTS IN MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS. WE’VE LAID A STRONG FOUNDATION BY BUILDING ALMOST 30,000 CLASSROOMS IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS, PROVIDING COMPUTER ACCESS TO MORE THAN 3,000 HIGH SCHOOLS, AND BEGINNING A "HEALTHY START" BREAKFAST PROGRAM FOR OUR YOUNG SCHOOL CHILDREN.
I ASK CONGRESS TO PASS THE PRE-NEED CODE TO REHABILITATE, REFORM AND REGULATE THE PRE-NEED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS THAT WORKED SO WELL IN THE PAST AS A MAJOR VEHICLE FOR YOUTH EDUCATION ENTITLEMENT.
COLLEGE EDUCATION IS THE GREAT FILIPINO DREAM. BUT IN A WORLD OF RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, GETTING A JOB OR KEEPING IT DEPENDS AS MUCH ON HOW WELL ONE REASONS AS HOW WELL ONE USES HIS HANDS. I HAVE ISSUED E.O. 358 SO THAT HOURS SPENT IN VOCATIONAL TRAINING CAN BE CREDITED TOWARDS A COLLEGE DEGREE. THAT WILL COMBINE JOB READINESS WITH THE DREAM OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION WHILE INCREASING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF OUR NATION.
BUT OUR COMPETITIVENESS IS GREATLY ENDANGERED TODAY BY THE GLOBAL OIL CRISIS. I CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ENCOURAGING RENEWABLE AND INDIGENOUS ENERGY.
IN THE AREA OF NATIONAL SECURITY, I URGE THE SWIFT PASSAGE OF AN ANTI-TERRORISM LAW THAT WILL PROTECT RATHER THAN SUBVERT, ENHANCE RATHER THAN WEAKEN, THE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES THAT TERRORISM PRECISELY THREATENS WITH EXTINCTION.
THESE EXAMPLES SERVE TO HIGHLIGHT THAT THERE IS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE.
NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR DIVISIVENESS, AND WHILE THERE'S NO AVOIDING PARTISAN POLITICS, THERE CAN BE A DETERMINED EFFORT BY ALL SIDES TO LIMIT THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE ON A COUNTRY POISED FOR TAKE-OFF.
LET’S CALL ON THE LORD. LET US ASK HIM FOR THE GRACE TO MAKE US WORTHY OF HIS HEALING OUR LAND.
ALAM KONG TAYONG LAHAT AY NAGHAHANGAD NG ISANG MAKABULUHANG PAGBABAGO PARA SA ATING BAYAN. TAYONG LAHAT AY NAGSISIKAP PARA MATAMO ANG KAPAYAPAAN AT KAUNLARAN. KUNG KAYA'T AKO'Y NAKIKIUSAP NA TULUNGAN NINYO AKO, PARA SA KAPAKANAN NG TAONG BAYAN.
WE MAY DISAGREE AMONG OURSELVES BUT LET US NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THAT GREATER BATTLE FOR ONE PEOPLE, ONE COUNTRY, ONE PHILIPPINES.
NOT THE COUNTRY OF THIS OR THAT PRESIDENT BUT THE PHILIPPINES OF OUR SHARED AND PASSIONATE AFFECTIONS.
MARAMING SALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Chief Justice Reynato Puno is now sending a new message with his "Special Supreme Court Sponsored Summit on Extrajudicial Killings" especially to troops on the ground fighting the MILF-ASG and the CPP-NPA-NDF. That message is that the Chief Justice does not really care about them because he is more concerned for the human rights of those who are trying to kill them and defeat the government.
"This summit proves that Filipinos can be one." the Chief Justice intoned at the close of the summit.
Really? When there are fourteen dead Marines in twenty or more pieces from Basilan lying in state at Philippine Marine Headquarters (plus two more from Patikul just yesterday!), the Chief Justice proclaims the unity of the Filipinos. At practically the very moment the Philippines became the Oooga-booga decapitation capital of the world, the Chief Justice says that because of his summitry, "there is no reason to lose hope in the Philippines."
Mystifyingly, he doesn't mention the most obvious case of extrajudicial killing occupying the people's minds this week. They happen to be thinking about those extrajudicial beheadings done by the Abu Sayyaf on uniformed troops of the Republic. Could not the highest official of the Judiciary have at least denounced such a heinous crime of terrorism?
Would that have been a "KNEE JERK REACTION" on his part to denounce the Abu Sayyaf as criminal terrorists under the Human Security Act? NO I guess it would've been eating humble pie since he already attacked the law in a highly political speech that he gave at a Manila University commencement a few months ago? That was a clear violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Section 5, forbidding judges from making political speeches.
Now the folly of that commencement speech of the chief justice becomes clear. He has indeed PREJUDGED and prejudiced any future case that would be brought before the Judiciary under the Human Security Act.
I've quickly lost confidence in, and am frankly alarmed at the radical plans of the Chief Justice for the Judiciary and the Rules of Court, which he seems to think can be changed to solve the mystery of those extrajudicial killings.
This smells of the pure anti-Constitutionalism, the judicial putschism of Hilario Davide continuing to do its dirty work on the Judiciary, corroding the notions of judicial restraint, overthrowing the ethic of impartiality and neutrality among judges, and destroying the Balance of Powers in a tripartite democracy.
THE WRIT OF WHAT? Well it's called the Writ of Amparo, a Mexican Extension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which from my shallow understanding of it, will almost surely result in the Armed Forces of the Philippines coming under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Reynato Puno is winning plenty of plaudits from the Big Left Media and his newfound pals in Geneva and the UN "Humanitarian Law" Establishment (but read Eye-On-The-UN). I can see his triumphant retirement already as a great champion of Human Rights, followed by ascension to The Hague, that paradise of vestal justices in the Alps.
Ka Roger should be worried about his job security as the local media's favorite spokesman of the CPP-NPA-NDF --now that a new star is born in Chief Justice Reynato Puno. This lil confab at the Manila Hotel is the centerpiece of his very short turn as Chief Justice and he is making the most of it.
The Old Struggle for Human Rights,
New Problems Posed by Security*
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno
“Tomorrow begins in the East,” trumpets the motto of this venerable institution of learning. In his last moments in Bagumbayan, our national hero Jose Rizal stared at tomorrow in the eye, veered his bullet-riddled body to the right and fell lifeless on the ground --face turned towards the rising sun in the east. From the cradle to the grave, Rizal consecrated his life to fight for the human rights of our people.
Today, you will be certified as a walking intellectual. Tomorrow, you will be looking at our people with a fresh eye. I urge you to use your new eye to perceive the meaning and nuances of our continuing struggle to protect and push to new thresholds the human rights of our people.
The wisdom of hindsight informs us that human rights stem from three bedrock rights: the right to life, the right to human dignity, and the right to develop. From the right to life springs our right to own property, to health, to work, to establish a family. From the right to human dignity flows our right to equal treatment before the law, to freedom of thought, of conscience, of religion, of opinion, expression, and to be recognized as a person everywhere. From the right to develop comes the right to education, and to live in an environment that allows all of our rights to flourish in full.
There is no human without any right. The caveman and the civilized man have the same natural rights. Human rights inhere in all of us as human beings, as beings higher and different from other creatures. Since they are innate to man, since they are inherent to his being, these rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away; they are inviolable and cannot be waylaid by any might of man; their preservation is an obligation shared by the rulers and the ruled alike.
Our history tells us that in this small patch of the earth, our forefathers pioneered in planting the seeds of human rights when it was far from being the fad and fashion of the day. On
May 31, 1897, they established a republican government in Biak-na-Bato. It had a Constitution advance on political and civil rights. With serendipity, its authors Felix Ferrer and Isabelo Artacho embedded in it four articles which guaranteed freedom of the press, the right of association, freedom of religion, and freedom from deprivation of property or domicile except by virtue of judgment passed by a competent court of authority. They entrenched these radical ideals in 1898 when Aguinaldo established a revolutionary government and adopted the Malolos Constitution.
Then came our war against the
. American President McKinley sent the First Philippine Commission headed by Jacob Gould Schurman to assess the Philippine situation. On United States February 2, 1900, the commission reported to the President that the Filipino wanted above all a “guarantee of those fundamental human rights which Americans hold to be the natural and inalienable birthright of the individual but which under Spanish domination in the had been shamefully invaded and ruthlessly trampled upon.” (emphasis supplied) In response to this, President McKinley, in his Instruction of Philippines April 7, 1990to the Second Philippine Commission, provided an authorization and guide for the establishment of a civil government in the stated that “(u)pon every division and branch of the government of the Philippines . . . must be imposed these inviolable rules…” The “inviolable rules” included, among others, that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Philippines
The “inviolable rules” of the Instruction were re-enacted almost exactly in the Philippine Bill of 1902, in the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 or the Jones Law, and in the 1935 Constitution.
The 1935 Bill of Rights was carried into the 1973 Constitution with a few changes, and finally in the 1987 Constitution. As an aftermath of the martial law regime of the Marcos government, the 1987 Constitution, enshrined a Bill of Rights which more jealously safeguards the people’s fundamental liberties. In clear and unmistakable language, the Constitutional proclaimed as a state policy that “(t)he state values the dignity of very human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” In addition, it has a separate Article on Social Justice and Human Rights, under which, the Commission on Human Rights was created.
The horrors of the World Wars warn us that the protection of human rights is a duty we owe to generations to come. In 1945, the peoples of the United Nations (UN), declared in the Preamble of the UN Charter that their primary end was the reaffirmation of “faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,” in order “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”
The promotion of human rights is also the indispensable predicate of peace and progress. For this reason, on
December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its two implementing covenants are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These instruments not only denounced nazism and fascism, but also recognized that the “security of individual rights, like the security of national rights, was a necessary requisite to a peaceful and stable world order.”
The interesting question is what has happened to human rights in this new millennium? The end of the Cold War ended the bipolar world starring the West led by the
and the East led by United States . The end result of that clash of civilization is the emergence of a unipolar world dominated by democracy as the political ideology and the triumph of capitalism as the bible of economics. With communism out in the cold, the world awaited with bated breath the dawn of universal peace and order. But when peace appeared to be within mankind’s grasp, 9/11 shattered to smithereens its illusion. 9/11 gave birth to new realities on ground with grave repercussions on the human rights situation in the world, especially the most vulnerable sector, the poor who are many, the many yet the most impotent. Russia
On the universal level, 9/11 altered the face of international law. As the worst victim of terrorism, the
led the fight to excise and exorcise terrorism from the face of the earth. It pursued a strategy characterized by a bruising aggressiveness that raised the eyebrows of legal observers. The leader country of democracy did not wait for the United Nations to act but immediately sought to search and destroy terrorists withersoever they may be found. In less polite parlance, the search and destroy strategy gave little respect to the sovereignty of states and violated their traditional borders. The strategy which is keyed on military stealth and might had trampling effects on the basic liberties of suspected terrorists for laws are silent when the guns of war do the talking. The war on terrorism has inevitable spilled over effects on human rights all over the world, especially in countries suspected as being used as havens of terrorists. One visible result of the scramble to end terrorism is to take legal shortcuts and legal shortcuts always shrink the scope of human rights. United States
These shortcuts have scarred the landscape of rights in the
. In March 2006, Amnesty International issued a public statement expressing grave concern over reports of an ongoing pattern of political killings of members of legal leftist organizations in various provinces in the country. It also stated that in the wider context of continuing nationwide counter-insurgency operations against the New People’s Army (denounced as terrorists) periodic human rights violation, including arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions and torture, continue to be reported. Aside from them, community activists, church workers, lawyers, journalists and others perceived as sympathetic to the communist movement suffered violation of their human rights. Not to be outdone, the NPAs are also reported to have lawlessly retaliated against their opponents. Philippines
The escalation of extra judicial killings in the
has attracted the harsh eye of advocates of human rights. The UN Commission on Rights has sent Prof. Alston to look at the Philippine human rights situation. Some members of the International Parliamentary Union are in town for the same purpose. Their initial findings are not complementing to our Constitutional commitment to protect human rights. Philippines
As young graduates, you may be asking yourself the relevance of these ongoing violations of human rights to your life, especially as you embark on your journey to improve the economic aspects of your life. I submit that the fight against terrorism and the battle to preserve human rights have high impact on the right of young people to live with dignity. One of its ill-effects is the massive displacement of young people in areas where the fight against terrorism tramples on human rights. These young people are compelled to migrate to seek greener pastures in hostile environments and, worse where they find their human rights subjected to new abuses with near impunity. Figures show that this problem of displacement will get worse in the coming years because of the galloping growth of the youth population. The United Nations predict that some 138 countries will have growing “youth bulge”; its calamitous consequence is that youth unemployment will skyrocket to record levels with the highest rate in the Middle East and North Africa. The UN findings further reveal that at least 60 million people aged 15-20 will not be able to find work and twice as many, about 130M, cannot lift their families out of poverty. It will not take a prophet to predict that countries that cannot give decent life to their young people will serve as incubators of extremism that may end up in terrorism.
And this leads me to the proposition that we need to give a broader, innovative view on our efforts to protect the human rights of our people which should consider our distinct social, economic and political context. Defying the cult of comformity and comfort, I submit that this view should consider the following facts and factors:
One. Terrorism is just one means of violating our human rights, especially our right to life itself, and should not consume our entire attention. Often, terrorism attracts universal attention because of its cinematic impact – the shocking violence, the bravado of the villains, the heroism of the victims’ rescuers, the sickening loss of lives and property and the dominance of the animal in man. Terrorism is terrible enough but the mindless, knee jerk reaction to extirpate the evil is more discomforting. The quickie solution is to unfurl the flag, sing the national anthem and issue the high pitched call to arms for the military and the police to use their weapons of destruction under the theme victory at all cost. To put constitutional cosmetics to the military-police muscular efforts, lawmakers usually enact laws using security of the state to justify the dimunition of human rights by allowing arrests without warrants; surveillance of suspects; interception and recording of communications; seizure or freezing of bank deposits, assets and records of suspects. They also redefine terrorism as a crime against humanity and the redefinition is broadly drawn to constrict and shrink further the zone of individual rights. If there is any lesson that we can derive from the history of human rights, it is none other than these rights cannot be obliterated by bombs but neither can they be preserved by bullets alone. Terrorism is a military-police problem but its ultimate solution lies beyond the guns of our armed forces.
Two. In fighting terrorism, let us not overlook the non-military aspects of our national security and their impact on human rights. The scholar Michael Renver hits the bulleye with the following analysis:
xxx terrorism is only symptomatic of a far broader set of deep concerns that have produced a new age of anxiety. Acts of terror and the dangerous reactions to them are like exclamation marks in a toxic brew of profound socioeconomic, environmental, and political pressures forces that together create a tumultuous and less stable world. Among them are endemic poverty, convulsive economic transitions that cause growing inequality and high unemployment, international crime, the spread of deadly armaments, large-scale population movements, recurring natural disasters, ecosystem breakdown, new and resurgent communicable diseases, and rising competition over land and other natural resources, particularly oil. These “problems without passports” are likely to worsen in the years ahead. xxx They cannot be resolved by raising military expenditures or dispatching troops. Nor can they be contained by sealing borders or maintaining the status quo in a highly unequal world.
Today and yesterday’s broadsheets bannered the news about the stranglehold of poverty in the
. The World Bank says that about 15M or 19% of Filipinos survive on less than $1 a day. Our National Anti Poverty Commission disputes the figures and claim that only 10.5 M Filipinos live on $1 a day. To the unsophisticated in the esoterics of economics, this is a distinction without difference for the cruel fact is that poverty stalks this land of plenty and hunger is still the best food seasoning of its people. In poor countries, it is poverty that truly terrorizes people for they are terrorized by the thought that they will die because of empty stomachs and not that they will lose their lives due to some invisible suicide bombers. In poor countries, it is also poverty that renders the poor vulnerable to violation of their rights, for the poor will not vindicate their rights in a justice system that moves in slow motion and whose wheels have to be greased with money. And would any dare to doubt, that our national security and our human rights are more threatened by the fear that we face an environmental collapse if we do not take immediate steps to save our seas and our forests from the despoliation to satisfy the economic greed of the few. Again, the realities may be uncomfortable but let the statistics talk and they tell us that in year 2000 for example, 300,000 people all over the world died due to violence in armed conflicts but as many people die each and every month because of contaminated water or lack of adequate sanitation. Philippines
Three. The threats to our national security and human rights will be aggravated if we have a state, weakened internally by a government hobbled by corruption, struggling with credibility, battling the endless insurgence of the left and the right; and, by a state weakened externally by pressure exerted by creditor countries, by countries where our trade comes from, by countries that supply our military and police armaments. A weak state cannot fully protect the rights of its citizens within its borders just as a state without economic independence cannot protect the rights of its citizens who are abroad from the exploitation of more powerful countries.
Fourth and lastly, the business of safeguarding our national security, the obligation of protecting human rights is a burden shared by all of us. It is not only the military that should tackle our problem of security for it is our security that is at stake, not their security. Security interest is a collective interest where everybody has a significant stake. In the same vein, the rich and the powerful should not consider the protection of the rights of the poor and the powerless as peripheral problems just because for the moment their own rights are unthreatened. Sooner or later, they will find that they who default in protecting the rights of the many will end up without rights like the many. The apathy of those who can make a difference is the reason why violations of human rights continue to prosper. The worst enemy of human rights is not its non believers but the fence sitters who will not lift a finger despite their violations. “If we have learned anything from September 11” wrote New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman, “it is that if you don’t visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you.”
Our work of protecting human rights is not yet finished. With the incursions and threats of incursion to our human rights at this crucial moment in our history, the clarion call to each one of us is to consecrate our lives to the great cause of upholding our human rights. When Rizal turned his face towards the rising sun, he saw hope in a heroic people carrying on the fight. Let us not allow the shadow of ignorance, indifference or indolence eclipse this hope so that we may continue to see a tomorrow begin in the East.
Thank you and again, congratulations.
* Delivered on
April 18, 2007on the occasion of the conferment of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of the East.
 Zaide and Zaide, “Martyrdom at Bagumbayan” in Jose Rizal: Works and Writings of a Genius, Writer, Scientist and National Hero (1994).
 Diokno, J. A Nation for Our Children (1987), pp. 4-5.
 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This speech, The Old Struggle for Human Rights -- New Problems Posed by Security, was delivered by Chief Justice Reynato Puno at the 2007 Commencement Exercises of the University of the East on April 18, 2007, Manila, Philippines. Above is a verbatim copy from the Philippine Supreme Court's website, which headlines the speech as Puno's message to the youth on terrorism. It needs uploading to the Archive for preservation as an artifact of the intellectual confusion that grips the Highest Court, distilled in Puno's statement that made big bold headlines:
Reynato Puno: "Terrorism is terrible enough but the mindless, knee jerk reaction to extirpate the evil is more discomforting. "
Yeah? Tell it to the Marines, their wives and their children, who are finding it hard to keep an open mind in front of the closed caskets.
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