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Boom, corrupt, corrupt
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on March 16, 2007 169 Comments 6 min read
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Boom corrupt, corrupt
Boom corrupt, corrupt
Kurakot, kurakot
boom, boom, boom!

…As the opposition version of the ditty goes.

Today I wrote my first entry for Current, a blog for Inquirer.net that John Nery (of Newsstand fame) and I will be writing on alternate days. So if you have time, you can take a look and see how that blog will differ from this blog, and my views on Barbara Boxer’s US Senate hearing on the deteriorating human rights situation in our country.

One additional bit from the Report of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the US Department of State, can serve as a take-off point for this blog, though:

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary; however, the judicial system suffered from corruption and inefficiency. Personal ties and sometimes venality resulted in impunity for some wealthy and influential offenders and contributed to widespread skepticism that the judicial process could ensure due process and equal justice. The Supreme Court continued efforts to ensure speedier trials and to sanction judicial malfeasance and was in the midst of a five-year program to increase judicial branch efficiency and raise public confidence in the judiciary.

The point here is that when corruption enters the picture, then the very things that should serve as safeguards -the law, legal procedures, etc.- become viewed as a means to ensuring that the law becomes yet another tool to protect the mighty and disadvantage the weak. This is at the heart of disagreements between people like myself who oppose the Anti-Terror Law, and its supporters like Philippine Commentary.

If the law is being used to bludgeon even legitimate dissent (as I think it is) than regardless of the good intentions of a new law, if it serves to increase the opportunities for actually eroding the credibility of the law, then I don’t think any such new law should be given the benefit of the doubt. For example, Dean Jorge Bocobo says the law is necessary and if abused, he will be at the barricades to denounce its misuse; but the barricades have already been raised; the abuses are taking place, the new law adds a new measure to the statute books that will increase abuse.

but the main point today is corruption. If, as the State Department’s report points out, corruption slows down the wheels of justice and in effect, makes them come off the axle of governance, then corruption in the judiciary presents an obstacle to the rule of law serving as a deterrent to human rights violations (worse, the atmosphere of impunity, in which abuses take place but no one gets punished, that has people rationalizing and excusing official human rights abuses on the shallow pretext that well, you have to fight fire with fire).

And not just when it comes to shadowy war between our armed forces and the NPA. The Bunker Chronicles recently blogged about the most recent manifestation of petty leading to lethal crimes afflicting the metropolis. Personally, I think both administration and opposition candidates have been deafeningly silent on criminality not just in Metro Manila, but in most cities of the country. Cellphone snatching, holdups in public utility vehicles, etc. What can legislators do about this? Denounce it. And lest we forget, they have the power of confirmation over military and police officials who deserve to be raked over the coals for letting these crimes take place. And for those who speak glowingly of the administration, let me add that if you exalt impunity, politically, for the chief executive then of course it follows that everyone else down the line will be lining up to line up the public, in term, for a holdup.

See also, Amando Doronila’s analysis of the survey findings and what it means -he deftly ties it to the question of human rights. The Inquirer editorial, too, points out this is a case of chicken coming home to roost for the government. The best that government apologists can do is Emil Jurado’s report that Senator Enrile has vowed to get even and give the foreign businessmen a good grilling.

I understand the Management Association of the Philippines is due to release a statement in the next couple of days, supporting the survey of foreign businessmen which found the Philippines the most corrupt country in our region. Just last night I had a chance to sit down and listen to the views of some businessmen and a banker. I asked them, is it worse today than before? One answered by means of a joke. Corruption, in FVR’s time, he said, was “under the table.” In Estrada’s time, “over the table.” And today? “With the table.”

This points to an interesting dynamic. They pointed out that the best they can do is echo what the foreign businessmen say, because if they said it first their necks would be on the line. They don’t have the luxury of being so big, like the Taipans, as to be untouchable, one remarked with a shrug. If foreign businessmen hadn’t said, it wouldn’t mean it wasn’t so -only that no one wanted to take the risk of pointing out the obvious. I’ve heard more than one person say: you want proof corruption is bogging this country down? Look at the unopened NAIA-III. The present government has had more than enough time to fix that mess, even if its origins lay in Estrada’s administration.

And before the usually yackey-yack on “well, at least Estrada’s in jail” starts up, please meditate on this picture.
Thumbs Up
It says it all. Hello, Nani, who remains blissfully free.

On another note, the Chief Justice’s recent speech is all very nice, and much as I agree with what he said, is it proper for a chief justice to make such a statement?

Finally, Comelec decides to take down the voter’s list which published people’s private information on line. And speaking of privacy, here’s a legal precedent: the Manila Trial Court declares that the president’s husband is most definitely, a public figure, that he can’t go around suing people for libel when what’s taking place is public scrutiny of his actions, or on the basis of his right to privacy.

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  1. They want communism outlawed….

    Ganun na state nang military natin, NAKAKAAWA.. ung communism have evolved during their struggle ung militar natin corrupt at wala pa din kwenta, breeding ground lang nang mga milyonaryong general…

  2. MLQ3,

    The terrorist tag is an awesome label, not least because no one would proclaim himself publicly to be a terrorist, except from within the caves of ToraBora (but not YouTube). It’s the same with communists, as even Joma bills himself largely as a “professor” or a “political consultant to the NDF peace panel.

    It is for that reason that both US and EU anti-terror laws maintain official LISTS of foreign terrorist organizations and individuals that are annually reviewed by the government and legislatures as virtual extensions of the law.

    So it is wrong to think that the Human Security Act can just arbitrarily designate anybody a terrorist, even though reading its rather general (and in my opinion limited and weak) definition of “terrorism” has attracted various forms of argumentum ad absurdum from lawyers like Nery Colmenares, who seems to already be preparing for a legal defense of his comrades in the various front organizations.

    But let us not forget that the law still has to develop Implementing Rules and Regulations where the battle to refine and rationalize the law must continue for civil libertarians and democrats. I believe that the IRR’s should address the criticism of possible arbitrary application of the terrorist tag by mandating such open, annually approved and reviewed LISTS of who the terrorists are officially considered to be. Our first list ought to include the current lists of our allies because there is no question that terrorism recognizes no boundaries and claims no territories. Terrorism is an international network that spans the globe from Utrecht to Manila in both hemispheric directions.

    Now as you know, the definition of terrorism that I prefer is my own: TERRORISM is organized crime to achieve the political and ideological end of overthrowing the legitimate government by illegitimate means.

    That certainly makes terrorists out of organizations of revolutionaries, insurgents and rebels who use violence, drugs, extortion and other criminal activities to achieve their goals. So be it. They can remove the label from themselves if they win. (And before I get the usual argumentum ad absurdum comments from the thread: YES to the British, George Washington was a terrorist!) If a group gets put on a list and the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court approves it, then the law can operate in the full light of regularity.

    I think the key objective of the Law is to encourage all political dissent to be within its fold and for all violent and illegal means of struggle to be shunned and condemned by all, in word and in deed.

    I believe that HSA 2007 is necessary because such “encouragement” is no longer enough in the face two specific terrorist instantiations: religious jihadists and secular insurgents, who either deny their true objectives and natures or hypocritically participate in peaceful parliamentary struggle but secretly support violence or justify its use by others.

    In the case or Bayan Muna, Gabriela and other orgs accused or suspected of being associated with those forces that our allies have already labelled as terrorists, it would be a simple matter to renounce the violent and illegal activities of those forces to innoculate themselves against the tag, instead of a bunch of guilty sounding gobbledygook refusing to do so for obscure and tendentious reasons.

    Why is it so important to denounce and renounce the NPA and its violent insurgency? Because it is precisely the accusation that they are providing ideological and political support for the military wing that resonates with so many people which they ought squarely to face and prove to be wrong. They keep saying that as long as they don’t actually bear arms and use them they cannot be accused of supporting the violence and extortions. In that, they insult our intelligence. In that they have no credibility with the people.

    In this, they are not being asked to prove their innocence, but their honesty and allegiance to the Constitution and to the God who saves it, so that we would come to support their causes and objectives too, which are noble sounding. It is their hypocrisy that most people detect and which prevents them from winning genuine popular support. It is their guilt-ridden disingenuity that is the source of their historic failure to rally the masses to their red flag.

  3. Example 101 corruption:

    Research nyo “Cold Mix Asphalt” every election during GMAs term lahat nang kaalyado congressman me project na ganyan. GMAs term ang corruption ay legal.

  4. The Anti-Terror Law reminds me of that futuristic fantasy movie where people are arrested for criminal thoughts, where people ran the risk of being arrested if they are within thinking distance of people who entertained dangerous thoughts.

    “You mean I can be detained for questioning if I happen to share the same UP dorm room with someone I didn’t know was a member of a terrorist organization?”

    “Well, you will have the presumption of innocence of course and after we electrocute your testicles and ram a nightstick up your ass and we find out that you are truly innocent, we will compensate you for your injuries, if any, and hopefully at P20,000 per day instead of the P500,000 that the law currently mandates. That P500,000 per day fine is an unreasonable amount to pay for burned testicles or a ripped vagina wouldn’t you agree? ”

    “Where can I buy brown shirts and black armbands around here? I want to be properly dressed when the Anti Terror law takes effect.”

    “Now now, No need to be sarcastic. The Anti-Terror Law, terrifying as it may be, is for your own protection. Trust us.”

  5. DJB,

    I condemn the terrorist acts of the CPP-NPA. I think Joma is a fucking megalomaniac sado-masochist ideologue who drinks the blood of innocents. I think the same of way about those goddam islamp fascists.

    So there. We both agree they are evil people.

    Now, can we go beyond ideological discussions and focus equally on human rights abuses?

  6. Which government in the last 20 years have been the best recruiter for the extremne left. Guess?

    They already had split into two ideological blocs and were becoming a non-entity. The left had shot themselves in the foot.

    Guess which briliant government gave them the oxygen to rise from being an almost marginalized group?

    The Asian crisis should have destroyed the myths of global liberalization process.

    Then to cover their failures the GMA government sought out an easy and favorite scapegoat. The Reds.

    Just like Bush in dropping the chase against Bin Laden to go after the oil in Iraq.

    He gave life to the myths of Islamic martyrdom and fueled the metamorphosis of an Islamic insurgency movement vs a supposed Christain crusade.

    “Mad Dog” Cheney continues to fan the flames of the war of civilizations while Halliburton moves to Dubai. The new Iraqi oil law gives foreign companies rights over most of the oil wells in Iraq.

    The extreme left here who are the natural enemies of the total opening of the Philippines to foreign domination will first have to be annihilated.

    Meanwhile in Palestine Abu Mazen (Abbas) one of the chief organizers of the PLO and presently the president of Palestinian territories still refuses to crack down on the
    amred groups still engaged in all out war vs. the Israeli’s. He has just formed a coalition government with Hamas a well known terrorist group.

    Here you have a guy talking about his concern of who a terrorist is and how the left have the nerve to be hypocritical.

    For generations the Irish Catholics including government officials and rich families in the U.S. have been funding the IRA in their armed struggles vs. the English and have indirectly supplied the funds to make bombs and buy arms for the IRA.

    Contrary to popular belief the American revolution was not a grand glorious campaign. It was a civil war between royalists and anti-royalists over business. With the loss of monopoly control of the colonies the British simply expanded their empire and influence over parts of the world.

    The 19th century became their century. The folksy facists like our friendly jihadists who we can count on to creating their own nemesis.

    Under the guise of Spartan warrior ethic they pronounce their views of how the state must protect itself with absolute ferocity.

    Joma believes in a Maoist insurgency. How can you call him a communist? Do you know the difference?

  7. djb, i have a problem with asking elected officials to prove their loyalty to the constitution. they took an oath to do so. neither you nor i have been asked to do that. and if you want to go down the path of rule of law, then we should presume they are true to their word. if we doubt them, then charges can be filed, and in the cases filed against satur ocampo, i’ve said let him vindicate himself in court.

    as for terrorism, again we’re back to definitions and we differ on how satisfactory the definitions are.

  8. Joma believes in a Maoist insurgency. How can you call him a communist? Do you know the difference? – hvrds

    Let me guess…Maoists believe in mobilizing the peasantry to surround the cities, while the more traditional (Soviet-style) communists believe in a more urban-based struggle with the industrial workers (the proletariat) leading the way.

  9. Adrian Sison just said on ANC that the Philippine population is overstated by 20million. Does anyone really believe that? Is Adrian Sison the next Eddie Gil?

  10. “TERRORISM is organized crime to achieve the political and ideological end of overthrowing the legitimate government by illegitimate means. –DJB”

    This is the kind of definition that is not only all-encompassing, but is downright ABSURD. If we go by this definition, Cory Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gloria Arroyo, Mike Arroyo and all those who supported EDSA 1 ans EDSA 2 are terrorists because they plotted to overthrow the existing legitimate governments. Certainly both EDSA 1 and 2 only became legit AFTER THE FACT, when the terrorist Supreme Court validated what could have been illegitimate means in the overthrow of Marcos and Estrada.

    Thanks to DJB, even Bush is a terrorist (and I agree!) because they illegally invaded Iraq who had a recognized government at that time and made the international community believe that Saddam hid WsMD.

  11. “While the government should continue to repel the communists, the subversives, the rebels, and the lawless with all the means at its command, it should always be remembered that whatever action is taken must always be within the framework of our Constitution and our laws.”
    –Morales vs. Enrile, G.R. No. L-61016 April 26, 1983

    And what do we hear from Palparan, Esperon, Gonzales and Gonzalez? That Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis and other leftist orgs are mere fronts of the CPP-NPA and therefore ought to be annihilated like the rest of their armed “comrades”. This kind of statement all the more confirms that they are indeed the authors of these extrajudicial killings. As I said in my blog, they have become the ultimate violators of the very system of law and justice they have sworn to uphold and protect.

  12. “But let us not forget that the law still has to develop Implementing Rules and Regulations where the battle to refine and rationalize the law must continue for civil libertarians and democrats. I believe that the IRR’s should address the criticism of possible arbitrary application of the terrorist tag by mandating such open, annually approved and reviewed LISTS of who the terrorists are officially considered to be. Our first list ought to include the current lists of our allies because there is no question that terrorism recognizes no boundaries and claims no territories. Terrorism is an international network that spans the globe from Utrecht to Manila in both hemispheric directions. –DJB”

    –The IRsRs will not cure the inherent defect of the Terror Law. Because of its highly subjective approach, it will certainly be used as a tool by criminal-minded elements in the government masquerading as generals, advisers and secretaries to further their objective of quelling not only the left but the mainstream opposition.

  13. MLQ3,
    We cannot compel anyone to prove their allegiance to the Constitution. But where large numbers of otherwise well meaning citizens come to doubt the allegiance of certain groups and individuals to the Constitution because they once took up arms against it, or get shifty eyed and mumble mumbo jumbo when politely asked if they support the NPA, it sure would help if they would just give a straight answer, as we often see Ricky Carandang, Pia Hontiveros, and the rest of our friends at ABSCBN do on tv all the time. Surely, we do have a right to ask, no? Or is not somehow politically correct to ask politicians and public officials where they stand just because they call themselves leftists? We do it all the time to other politicians and public officials. What makes Satur or the other partylist folks so special? What makes them so touchy about this that we can’t get a simple declaration from them about the NPA and its violent activities. Why do we just get a bunch of oblique or downright evasive answers.

    If you ask Satur, “Do you support the NPA?” why doesn’t he say YES or NO?

    If he says NO, he gets to go on with his life (unless of course you believe the CPP NPA is into extrajudicial killings of ex-comrades and rejectionists, which he himself denies.) If he says YES, then the politically correct can no longer give him the benefit of the doubt.

    The fact he has never said NO only proves that his real answer is YES, by the inescapable iron logic of personal and political survival.

    His silence, which of course is his right, nonetheless means it is highly likely that the answer is YES.

    What oath was that?

  14. “TERRORISM is organized crime to achieve the political and ideological end of overthrowing the legitimate government by illegitimate means. –DJB”

    “This is the kind of definition that is not only all-encompassing, but is downright ABSURD. If we go by this definition, Cory Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gloria Arroyo, Mike Arroyo and all those who supported EDSA 1 ans EDSA 2 are terrorists because they plotted to overthrow the existing legitimate governments. Certainly both EDSA 1 and 2 only became legit AFTER THE FACT, when the terrorist Supreme Court validated what could have been illegitimate means in the overthrow of Marcos and Estrada.

    Thanks to DJB, even Bush is a terrorist (and I agree!) because they illegally invaded Iraq who had a recognized government at that time and made the international community believe that Saddam hid WsMD.” – bystander

    How’s this for a definition of Terrorism?

    A calculated/planned act by person/s that results in random deaths of civilians to promote an ideology espoused by the organization he/she/they belong to.

    By this definition, state-terrorism would be covered, as what Bush has done to Iraq. A planned invasion resulting in random deaths of civilian Iraquis to promote, haha, democracy.

    And would include GMA’s and AFP’s cute war on the Left as state-terrorism as well.

    Palparan: it is just too sad if they are caught in the crossfire… (ba’t ba kasi andyan kayo sa daan namin?)

    and what ideology are they espousing?

    What else but the rule of the lawless.

  15. Question to DJB: Since you insist that Bayan Muna and other leftist orgs are communist fronts, could you care to answer some questions?

    Does such fact give the government the license to arrest and kill their members without due process of law? Of course you will then counter my question by asking me if I have proof that the government is the author of these murders. I will throw the question back to you. Do you also have proof, based on personal knowledge or that which can withstand the scrutiny of the rules of evidence, that indeed these people are engaged in armed rebellion or are in conspiracy with the NPAs? If so, are you willing to testify or present your evidence in a court of law or just be contended at pointing an accusing finger at the ideologues whom you so hate?

  16. The CPP/NPA is definitely a Maoist movement.

    Communist Parties exist in many places, in Russia and China, of course, as well as in New Zealand, England and US-of-A. [I don’t know if communist-parties are recognized in Saudi Arabia.]

    There are much fewer Maoist Parties than communists parties. One Maoist Party is in Nepal. This Nepal maoist party is opposed by the current Communist Party of Mainland China as a destabilizing force in the region. In 2005, the European Union condemned the Nepal Maoist party for its use of children soldiers. The Nepal Maoist movement (like Joma’s Maoist movement) is considered a terrorist group by the US Department of State).

    The CPP/NPA (and the muslim separatists in Mindanao) are also known to use children soldiers.

  17. It’s hard to get a conviction under the Anti-Terrorism Law. The court room would be a favorable battleground for those who oppose it.

  18. “If you ask Satur, “Do you support the NPA?” why doesn’t he say YES or NO? –DJB”

    Even if he says “no”, his colleagues are now being murdered left and right, day in and day out, by military and para-military elements under the auspices of the AFP. What more if he says “yes”? Saying “no”, therefore, is a necessity founded on fear of being persecuted for his beliefs.

    Be that as it may, the question is not whether he is an NPA or not but whether the government has the right to inflict physical harm on these constitutionally and legally recognized party-list groups on the mere insistence that they are communist fronts.

  19. This is the kind of definition that is not only all-encompassing, but is downright ABSURD. If we go by this definition, Cory Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Gloria Arroyo, Mike Arroyo and all those who supported EDSA 1 ans EDSA 2 are terrorists because they plotted to overthrow the existing legitimate governments.

    The WORD in the definition that does not make all these people you mentioned not guilty of terrorism is ORGANIZED CRIME.

  20. Marvin,
    Could you give a critique of that definition from a legal standpoint? The RICO statutes I believe give a pretty good definition of ORGANIZED CRIME as it applies to syndicates like the Mafia, whose goals are of course economic and financial power. In addition the term itself has colloquial public meaning (ie most people “know” what one is referring to whenever the termis used in most contexts). I have adopted it to apply to organized criminal syndicates whose power goals are political and ideological in nature.

    But how would you improve it if you were tasked with amending the current law and the definition of terrorism therein, which I really don’t like because I don’t think “striking fear or panic” in the public is the essential goal of real terrorists. IN the case of the jihadists and the communists, I think it is the outright destruction of civilization as we know it and the establishment of a caliphate-theocracy or a totalitarian dictatorship, respectively.

    Terrorists are not “demanding” the establishment of these alternative orders, they are seeking to actually bring them about by violently and utterly destroying the existing order, with or without our consent.

    BTW, thanks to The Ca t for taking my definition seriously.

  21. These party list are not the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF, they are their lifeblood. They supply the front with funds from their CDF, arms and fighters. After each rallies, the young men went to the hills to join the ambush, while those left behind prepares the placards and banners for the next rallies. The NPA is not confined in the mountains, they are in the slums and squatter areas within Metro Manila. Why do you think they are up in arms when the military assigned soldiers to their territories? Obvious di ba.

  22. But then again, if the election results are to be used as a gauge, there are more than 8 million communists registered as voters. That just proves that commies are a strong force in the country and simply exterminating them like roaches will not work due to their sheer volume.

  23. “The WORD in the definition that does not make all these people you mentioned not guilty of terrorism is ORGANIZED CRIME. –The Ca t”

    –We obviously have different interpretations on the import and meaning of the word “organized crime”. To me, it does not necessarily mean that it must be like some sort of a mafia or a criminal syndicate. Any two or three people who come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and who plan the means to effect the same can also be called “organized crime” for purposes of this absurd definition.

  24. djb, i agree with most (if not all) of what you wrote regarding terrorists and terrorism. My only problem is why should your definition limit “terrorism” as an act of “organized crime” for the purpose of achieving the “political and ideological end of overthrowing the legitimate government..”

    Your definition apparently excludes individual acts of terrorism (e.g., the “shoe bomber”) for the purpose of inflicting harm and instill fear on people of different religious orientation. I believe the essence of terrorism is its objective to create irresistible mortal fear in the heart and mind of society to destroy the existing order and way of life. It is not directed at a particular person or government official, rather to the general population regardless of age, sex, education or station in life. It is an equal opportunity crime, the more victims, the more heinous, the better for the perpetrator who doesn’t care if he perishes in the process. It is a true crime against humanity and should be condemned by all in a civilized society.

    Terrorism is not a mere “political crime” and should never qualify for amnesty or leniency. It deserves the highest form of punishment allowable under our legal, constitutional and judicial systems.

    mlq3, I think that is precisely why Ocampo and the other leftist parliamentarians are either under investigation for possible prosecution, or have been indicted. If they are found to have violated their oath (preserve and defend the Constitution, the laws, and the duly-constituted government and instrumentalities of the State)they are liable for punishment. In any event, when they appear voluntarily for t.v. interviews, they are fair game for uncomfortable questions that may arise from their own spin and/or propaganda.

  25. “These party list are not the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF, they are their lifeblood. They supply the front with funds from their CDF, arms and fighters. After each rallies, the young men went to the hills to join the ambush, while those left behind prepares the placards and banners for the next rallies. The NPA is not confined in the mountains, they are in the slums and squatter areas within Metro Manila. Why do you think they are up in arms when the military assigned soldiers to their territories? Obvious di ba. –zapper”

    –1. How did you know that the pork barrel is being used to finance the activities of the CPP-NPA? Do you have proof, first hand or otherwise, that these funds are being diverted or you are merely assuming it to be true? Have you actually inquired from the proper government agency, the DBM for example, if these funds are being used to help the CPP-NPA? If your answer is “yes”, then I would have to believe you but if your answer is “no”, then you might be one of the unsuspecting victims of government propaganda out to destry the credibility of these leftist orgs.

  26. “These party list are not the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF, they are their lifeblood. They supply the front with funds from their CDF, arms and fighters. After each rallies, the young men went to the hills to join the ambush, while those left behind prepares the placards and banners for the next rallies. The NPA is not confined in the mountains, they are in the slums and squatter areas within Metro Manila. Why do you think they are up in arms when the military assigned soldiers to their territories? Obvious di ba. –zapper”

    How did you know that the pork barrel is being used to finance the activities of the CPP-NPA? Do you have proof, first hand or otherwise, that these funds are being diverted or you are merely assuming it to be true? Have you actually inquired from the proper government agency, the DBM for example, if these funds are being used to help the CPP-NPA? If your answer is “yes”, then I would have to believe you but if your answer is “no”, then you might be one of the unsuspecting victims of government propaganda out to destry the credibility of these leftist orgs.

  27. There are some people (bloggers included) who talk and sound as if they are the vanguards of law and order, of democracy and of the constitution. But when you analyze closely, they are the first to violate human rights just to preserve what they think is the only correct economic and political system. They appear as is they are so concerned with terrorism — with the loss of human lives — but play DEAF and BLIND to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. They are the REAL HYPOCRITES.

    This is not to defend the communists or any ideology for that matter. Joma and Satur are old enough to defend themselves. But as a believer of civil liberties, we must give these people the needed democratic space that we ought to give them. This is the essence of democracy.

  28. We obviously have different interpretations on the import and meaning of the word “organized crime”.

    It is not our interpetation which matters here. It is the definition and usage of term as applied to the meaning of terrorist or terrorism.

    In every paper, bill, resolution and study, the definition of terms is provided for better understanding of terminologies used.

  29. “It is not our interpetation which matters here. It is the definition and usage of term as applied to the meaning of terrorist or terrorism.

    In every paper, bill, resolution and study, the definition of terms is provided for better understanding of terminologies used. –The Ca t”

    The definition we are talking about is not the definition of terrorism as inscribed in the new law. It is the definition of Bocobo’s. It is his fervent dream that the definition should have been worded that way.

  30. bystander, it is a sad fact of life that all criminals, more often than not, invoke “human rights” and “due process of law” and use them as shields from the sword of justice. Defective law enforcement and the limitations of our judicial system often leave this criminals free, ready to continue their heinous activities. What about the victims and their loved ones? Obtaining justice is a “human right” too, isn’t it?

    I just wonder how those who oppose the anti-terrorist law would react if their most beloved is killed in a random act of terrorism, that could have been prevented if only some so-called “civil rights” gave way to the preservation of life. This is an imperfect world – we can’t have it all but we can opt for the lesser evil, can’t we?

  31. Cat,

    I agree wth you “it is not our interpretation that matters here. It is the definition and usage of term as applied to the meaning of terrorist or terrorism.”

    Since the Anti-Terror Bill does not define terrorism clearly, a better understanding of terminologies is impossible and application of the usage of the terms terrorist and terrorism becomes subjective and thus capricious.

    That;s why I always ask myself – What happens if the law falls into the wrong hands? What if there is a nightmare scenario where the Filipinos elect a communist president? (It is not as far-fetched as it looks when you consider that Bayan was ranked third in a survey on which political parties are percieved by the people as doing something for them.) What if the Filipinos elect a fascist? (Gloria is not a fascist yet. She is still in the neocon stage.)

    Still there are those who applaud the anti-terror law. And they insist that it’s clear enough for them. They say vagueness didn’t stop other countries so why should it stop us. Why should we Filipinos insist on clarity when other countries are perfectly happy stumbling round in the dark?

    Like the man said, “Trust us.”

    The only problem with trusting the man is the man is not always the same. Tomorrow, the man could be someone sporting a funny moustache or a towel on his head or a funny cap with a red star on it or, god-forbid, an Elvis jumpsuit and sunglasses.

    So you are absolutely correct – “it is not our interpretation that matters here. It is the definition and usage of term as applied to the meaning of terrorist or terrorism.”

  32. Bencard,

    “What about the victims and their loved ones? Obtaining justice is a “human right” too, isn’t it?”

    The burden of meting out justice without sacrificing any human right is on the government.

    “I just wonder how those who oppose the anti-terrorist law would react if their most beloved is killed in a random act of terrorism, that could have been prevented if only some so-called “civil rights” gave way to the preservation of life.”

    So civil rights are getting in the way of law enforcement?

  33. buencamino, the burder of proving something is on the party asserting it.

    Yes, the government’s respect for civil rights sometimes get in the way of preventing terrorism, and therefore, society has to make the hard choice. That’s just the way it is, Manuel.

  34. Bencard,
    Let me clarify the concept of terrorism as “organized crime” in the case of the Shoe Bomber, by analogy to the Mafia. Many Mafia families use enforcers and assassins in their extortion activities. If a local business refuses to pay up, for example, they might send a single arsonist to burn down the store or murder its owner. After such a crime is committed the authorities may come to discover that indeed the hit was done by a Mafia enforcer on orders from the local capo. Such a case might then be prosecuted under RICO as an act of organized crime, even if the actual arson or murder was carried out only by the enforcer. Of course the links to the organized crime syndicate would have to be proven. It would not be an act of organized crime however, if the arson or murder were done say by a jilted lover or associate of the business owner purely as a personal or private matter between them, arising as a result of passion, anger or jealousy and not part of a normal organized criminal syndicate’s regular activities.

    By analogy, the case of the Shoe Bomber would be an act of terrorism under the definition because he was a member of a terrorist organization and was supplied with his shoe bomb by others and acted under their influence and orders, even if he was acting alone when he was apprehended at the airport.

    It would be the same thing that happens when an individual NPA operative blows up a cell site or assassinates a local govt official. Such an “enforcer” might carry out the bombing or murder all by him or herself, but if proven to have been done as part of the local NPA unit’s extortion activities, that act could then be prosecuted as an act of terrorism, as part of an “organized criminal syndicate’s” regular political and ideological activity, whose objectives go far beyond the economic motive of getting money from the telecomm and extends to actual overthrow of the government. The individual who carries out the crime, even if acting alone, can be prosecuted as a terrorist if his crime can be shown to be part of the group’s organized activities.

    Conversely, an actual organized crime syndicate, a real Mafia gang, or say a highly organized group of bank robbers and safe crackers who undertake a crime as a group, would not be prosecuted as terrorists if it can be determined that they were acting purely out of normal economic or financial greed.

  35. DJB,

    This link takes you to my first post on the Anti-Terrorism Law. In the last portion of the entry, I broke down the elements of the legal definition of Terrorism as follows:

    1. Violation of any of penal law enumerated (rebellion, murder, etc.)
    2. Sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace
    3. For the purpose of coercing the government to give in to an unlawful demand.

    Mr problem is how do you prove “widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace” in court? A lot of isolated terrorist attacks particularly those in the rural areas are not going to qualify under this definition.

    Then you have the last element which is coercing the government to give in to an “unlawdul demand”. The term “unlawful” is going to give the prosecutors another headache. What happens if somebody bombs the Ombudsman for sitting on graft cases? That appears to be a lawful demand, but I think that should be terrorism too. Further, what if somebody bombs the LRT but the purpose of the attack is not disclosed to the public like the Rizal day bombings of 1999? Then the last element is not going to be met.

    Elements 2 and 3 are subjective matters. That’s why prosecutors, public attorneys, human rights activists, and judges are going to spend a lot of time arguing over this definition. And given that our court system is slow, even for simple BP 22 cases, I bet we will wait ten years before the first conviction is made.

  36. DJB, you are still excluding a terrorist who does not belong to “organized” group, but is acting alone and independently. For example, a muslim fanatic who is not a member of al Quaeda or any other terrorist group but blows up a jetliner filled with innocent passengers for no other reason than to inflict terror upon “infidels” would not fit into your definition. Being a muslim does not mean membership in an “organized syndicate”.

  37. MB,
    Do you think we should even try to write an anti-terrorism bill? Do you think there is a phenomenon called terrorism that should be criminalized? Or is it really all just a neocon invention to you? What should actually be done about terrorism? Nothing? Treat it as ordinary crime? Or is it such an impossible thing to do that a law be passed which does not endanger “human rights”?

  38. Bencard, Well, that’s right. A deranged person who acts alone should be distinguished from those in an organized movement. We have to leave room for “ordinary crimes” of mass murder and mayhem. Almost all crimes can be said to cause some amount of fear and panic, but that is why my definition IS different from that of the law.

    Of course, if such person were in a madrassah and was influenced to undertake such an act, he may only be guilty of “ordinary” multiple murder, but the imam in the madrassah who might be a member or affiliate of AQ could be charged with terrorism.

    Otherwise, the law becomes open to an overly general and arbitrary definition of terrorist acts.

  39. Bencard,
    I do not consider a person to be a terrorist just because he commits a horrific crime that kills many people if indeed his sole intention was to sow fear and panic and not to overthrow the existing govt using such fear and panic. A Mafiosi who burns down one store in order to intimidate nearby stores into giving in to purely economic extortion ought to be prosecuted for ordinary arson and extortion not terrorism. But when the NPA bombs a cell phone tower, it is part of their overall “revolutionary” struggle. That’s terrorism, even if only a single person carries it out.

  40. DJB and MB and Bencard:

    Here is a question. Is it an act of war, or an act of terrorism if a 3-man NPA-team assaults the main the Cultural Center auditorium, detonates 15 grenades in the packed crowd, killing John Marzan, Toots Ople, 2 of MB’s aunts, Bencard’s uncle, and 14 high school kids because they believed that their favorite General the Pal-pak-ran was one of the attendees?

  41. Good question UPN! It goes to the heart of the nature of the “war on terror”. You see, the jihadists and the NPA terrorists are not a “foreign power” in the conventional sense. They have no fixed territory, no cities or factories (except perhaps for making illegal drugs), no visible government or seat of power (unless you accept my thesis that the Dutch are the biggest state supporters of Filipino terrorism). But the point was made early on in the war on terror that it has this ASYMMETRIC character. Therefore, there is really no one to declare war upon in the conventional sense. But I have always urged this attitude towards terrorism, that the political leadership must convince the public that they ARE at war with shadowy groups that have indeed declared war on them. I guess this fits in well with the definition of terrorism I have been promoting.

    Btw, the scenario you depict already happened: in the NPA grenading of the Liberal Party’s Plaza Miranda miting de avance of 1971.

  42. Will your answer change if it happened on the Friday about half-a-month before elections?

  43. UPN,
    Haha! I know EXACTLY what you are referring to. My answer won’t, but Human Security Act 2007 is silly in that terrorism is apparently not a crime for three months around every election time. I will let the others speak for themselves. That feature was put there by Jamby Madrigal and Nene Pimentel, the great “human rights” advocates in the Senate.

  44. Financial Times reported today (p.2 World News) that Gitmo detainee Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the Pakistani who was number three in al-Qaeda and who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and the beheading of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl, compared al-Qaeda to the Patriots of George Washington … at heto … that Bin Laden “is George Washington for Muslims.” He is “doing the same thing” fighting for “independence.” Pa weather weather lang di ba?

  45. Yes, the government’s respect for civil rights sometimes get in the way of preventing terrorism, and therefore, society has to make the hard choice. – Bencard

    Google ‘False dilemma’.

    Is it an act of war, or an act of terrorism if a 3-man NPA-team assaults the main the Cultural Center auditorium….- UPn Student

    Yes it is, and i think the defining feature that makes it an act of terrorism is disregard for collateral damage, i.e. the death of innocents. Basing terrorism on collateral damage makes it more comprehensive in that even acts of the State, whether of the AFP against the NPA or the US troops against Iraqi insurgents, that cause damage to the civilian population can be covered.

    But the point was made early on in the war on terror that it has this ASYMMETRIC character. Therefore, there is really no one to declare war upon in the conventional sense. – DJB

    Which is precisely what makes targetting specific ideologies superfluous at the ground level. Any disgruntled group can turn nihilists for whatever reason so the focus should be in protecting society against the means of carrying out widespread destruction. What is needed are practical measures, such as bomb detection, weapons inspection, surveillance of public places, good police intelligence, privacy without anonymity, trained dogs, dress codes etc. The aforementioned is the ‘police’ aspect.

    Where ideology and political considerations matter is at the level of trying to resolve festering resentments among subsets of a population such as that of the Muslims in Mindanao, the Palestinians in Israel. This aspect is the responsibility of governments. What’s been happening so far though in the case of both Gloria Arroyo’s administration and that of the Israelis is the opposite.

  46. watchful eye,
    The fallacy in your argument lies in the concept of moral equivalence, which is the blind vice of most liberals, especially those who grew up during the Cold War. But you are certainly free in this country and in America to consider Osama bin Laden the moral equivalent of George Washington.

    But that is why it is a WAR on terrorism, and not a debating society. Perhaps you can afford to treat it like that, perhaps you do believe that OBL is fighting for the freedom of the Muslims and not their enslavement to a new Caliphate, but neither the great masses of Muslims nor the rest of humanity can or will follow you into that self-indulgent intellectual swamp.

    No sir! We shall destroy the nihilists or they shall destroy us.

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