Monday, August 25, 2008

Stupid Cat, Wily Mouse

hile listening to Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano just now talking to Ricky Carandang on Dateline Philippines I got a sinking feeling. It was the realization that these two key personalities of our Defense Establishment may not even see things regarding the MILF quite the same way, a dissonance that reflects the even greater incoherence at the level of Malacanang Palace.

On the one hand we have General Yano telling Ricky Carandang he doesn't think the MILF leadership actually controls Commanders Bravo and Ombra Cato and that as far as he can tell they are just acting on their own. He also reports not seeing "any major movement or action" from the other MILF "base commands" to support the units of the two hard-liners. How in the world they could verify a negative escapes me. If they can't even find Kato and Bravo (he admits the AFP has not even had a major engagement with Bravo's Lanao fighters) how do they know which MILF members, singly or in small and large groups are moving around from base to base helping each other.

On the other hand, the Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro stated that he could not understand why Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim and the MILF "leadership" did not condemn the atrocities committed by these two units (murder, arson, hostage-taking, property destruction and population displacement and illegal occupations). He said however, that the military offensives would not stop until the two were captured or voluntarily turned over to the authorities. He characterized Al Hadj Murad's publicly order for the two commanders "to stand down" -- given over a week after atrocities started and were forcibly ended by Philippine troops--as a belated gesture and "way below the level required of them" to show good faith.

I agree with Teodoro. Such a belated statement made-for-TV by Murad, (who has already adopted the demeanor of a head of state) ought to be backed up by more convincing and positive acts that the leadership is truly committed to peace and eschews the act of its own closest men. Why for example, is it suddenly the job of the AFP alone to capture these two terrorist commanders? If indeed Yano believes they are mere rogues--another case of a lost command--then why doesn't he expect the other MILF commands to help shut down the atrocities? Granted he's the soldier of the pair, but precisely, why is he the one acting like a politician!?

All I can say is the good general better make good on his words and get the two bloodthirsty thugs soon. I hope I wasn't mistaken about him before, I hope that he is not part of the Dureza-Garcia duo of terrorist coddlers on the peace panel who are the true progenitors of the current state of affairs. People will recall that it was Jess Dureza and Rodolfo Garcia who saved the top MILF leadership from blame and arrest after those fourteen Marines looking for Giancarlo Bossi in Basilan (July 2007) were ambushed and beheaded by the MILF/ASG head choppers. I said way back then that they did that because they were trying to save some kind of big peace deal legacy thingy for their Boss, the Mistress of Capitulation and Surrender to Terrorists. Sure enough, in August 2007, I first heard Gloria Macapagal Arroyo utter the words, "Bangsamoro Juridical Entity". She was even suggesting the Palace might just "pilot" the project and establish this BJE even without plebiscites "if the Christian communities wouldn't mind it."

KRISTIE KENNEY: GO HOME! Lots of people, including this writer, were thoroughly nonplussed to discover that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was there in Petrajaya, waiting to witness with the Malaysian puppeteers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last August 5, the signing of that now infamous Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, (MOA-AD) whose patently unconstitutional, illegal and dangerous provisions have galvanized the vast majority of Filipinos in opposition to it. So strident is the ongoing condemnation of the MOA-AD that the Palace itself has variously proclaimed it will no longer sign the agreement--presumably in order to give its allies on the High Court enough reason to persuade the Court that the issues raised by the petitioners (that they be given copies of the document and to have the MOA annulled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional) are now moot and academic.

I think President Arroyo has been able to hornswaggle the naif US Ambassador Kristie Kenney into thinking that they had the Mindanao thing handled, a peace deal would be signed, and why doesn't the good ambassador (wearing a veil of course) go and have a nice visit and chit-chat over at Al Hadj Murad's pad (which she foolishly did last February!). Photos of their convivial lil tete-a-tete are circulating in the blogosphere.

It was really a big mistake for George W. Bush to have skipped the Philippines on his way to Beijing, and a continuing idiocy on the part of the Democratically controlled Congress to have funded those dimwits over at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) with all their crazy "peace technology" eck-eck. The Philippines having dropped off the American radar once more (due to its own inconsistency as an ally in the war on terror) this set of circumstances, let loose an increasingly delusional Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to clutch at desperate straws, agree to the most outrageous demands of the terrorist MILF to get her "peace legacy", try to force a charter change to make them good, and by the way to extend her term beyond 2010.

Now Mindanao is burning, bleeding and could soon blow up in all our faces.


Judicial Independence is a Moral Duty Not a Self-executing Right
AMADO "JAKE" MACASAET was Cheche Lazaro's special guest on ANC's Media In Focus episode recently. Last week, the Supreme Court, acting on its own behalf in a rare case, found the Malaya newspaper's editor and publisher, guilty of indirect contempt and fined him P20,000. The Majority Decision is here (by J. Ruben T. Reyes) which frames the matter thus:
FREEDOM of the press and judicial independence (kalayaan ng pamamahayag at kalayaang panghukuman) – two constitutional values which unfortunately clash in this case for indirect contempt of court – have to be weighed and balanced against each other.
I don't like J. Reyes' translation of "JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE" into "KALAYAANG PANGHUKUMAN" which he says must be balanced against Press Freedom ("kalayaan ng pamamahayag").

Jake himself points out the following passage in the decision as ominous:

The role of the press in relation to the judiciary needs to be regulated. This can be done through voluntary codes of conduct on the part of the press and through judicial policies, such as the rule on sub judice and contempt of court rulings. The absence of clear voluntary codes developed by the press, as its self-regulator, strengthens the need for the Court to use its power in the meantime to cite critics for contempt. This is necessary in cases where such criticism is obviously malicious or in violation of the sub judice rule, or where there is an evident attempt to influence the outcome of a case. Judges have the duty to defend and uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. They should sanction those who obstruct or impede the judicial processes. The effective administration of justice may only be realized with the strong faith and confidence of the public in the competence and integrity of the judiciary, free from political and popular pressure.

The Code of Judicial Conduct succinctly states:
PREAMBLE

An honorable competent and independent judiciary exists to administer justice and thus promote the unity of the country, the stability of government, and the well-being of the people.

CANON 1

A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY

RULE 1.01 - A judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence.

RULE 1.02 - A judge should administer justice impartially and without delay.

RULE 1.03. - A judge should be vigilant against any attempt to subvert the independence of the judiciary and should forthwith resist any pressure from whatever source intended to influence the performance of official functions.
The integrity, and indeed the independence of the Supreme Court is today undergoing two severe tests in the case of the controverted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) and the Sabio Bribery Case involving the Court of Appeals.

It's really up to the Justices, to demonstrate by the wisdom and courage of their decisions, that indeed the Judiciary IS independent. Like everybody else they have the same protections against a possibly overzealous and rambunctious press: the libel laws!

10 comments:

equal said...

The MILF Must Be Designated A "Foreign Terrorist Organization"!

DJB Rizalist said...

That would really blow a hole in GMA's reputation and historical legacy.

Bren said...

Easy to explain the 'terrorist' label/ But are they foreign based on where they were born?

AdB said...

Re: "But are they foreign based on where they were born?"

Might not be apt to tag them foreign-based anymore but it is true that many of their leaders were trained in Malaysia islamic terror camps years and years ago.

I'm convinced that they still receive some funding from "abroad", i.e., Malaysia and some OIC Islamic member nations. There's no way they can possess the kind of sophisticated firepower they have without external funding -- no way. Obviously, part of their funds come from tongs paid by businessmen in the area with some Chinese-Filipino businessmen (and warlords) heading the pack.

DJB Rizalist said...

bren,
You are correct. Equal was likely referring to this US State Dept. list where the term is used from the point of view of the US.

The European Unionalso uses the term "fto" and maintains a list of them on which Joma/CPP/NPA have the unique distinction of being the Philippines entry.

The UN also has a terrorist org, but I guess it doesn't use "foreign" or "interplanetary", hehe.

manuelbuencamino said...

The DOJ should charge Bravo and the others under the Human Security Act. Doing so would put the MILF leadership as harboring terrorists because they refuse to surrender them to the government.That will allow the government to tap phones, look into bank accounts etc. I am surprised that instead of HSA the DOJ is charging them with murder, arson, etc. only when the whole thing falls under the definition of terrorism per the HSA.

Bren said...

Maybe this is why JoMa expresses loudly his support for the MILF (because if the MILF also demonstrates active support for CPP/NPA, then they will fit some of the USA criteria for being labelled FTO).

Now, how come the Philippine government does not show that the MILF actively provides training and other material support to JI?

Anonymous said...

DJB,

Thanks for posting the debate between Al Sharpton and Christopher HItchens.

On stupid cat, wily mouse: No one in Gloria's administration has credibility. The MILF are bandits, and having that, the Philippines might just as well have a state for thieves, a state for liers and so on.

DJB Rizalist said...

manuelbuencamino,
The HSA is perfectly applicable, but simply put, no law enforcer would want to get entangled in its bureaucratic human rights protection requirements. Literally, it is harder to do wiretapping under HSA than the old Anti Wiretapping Law, which only reqd RTC oversight, not a special division of the CA (where ten million seems to be a favorite number!)

baycas2 said...

"...our courts are most corrupt at any point in time...," purportedly said by winston...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwPRApk7U3Q