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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. On terrorism and Anti Terror Bill, I really like all the commenst from DJB, CVJ, Bencard , Ca T and the rest.

    I agree with DJB’s definiition and even to his explantion on the bencards shoe box bomber. I woudl go with Ca T also that its the phrase organize crime that defines a terrorist

    I think Manuel Buencamino also posed the right concern, what if the the law indeed up on the wrong hands? Scary noh!

    Can we just recall the Anti Terrorism Law and subject it to the scrutiny and approval of bloggers here? 🙂

  2. Ok last nah. Medyo groggy y na rin ako eh. Its almost 2 am here anyway. And I have commtted to check a project at 8:30 am. pa.
    Di ako marelate don sa neocon na nillabel kay DJB. Di rin ako marelate sa mga references ni CVJ atbpa sa ibang bansa. I believe Filinos are unique and its only the pinoys themselves who can address our problems effectively. Certainly not Sen Barbara boxers and US gov’t.

  3. “Bystander, hold it. You are making an issue where there is none. I didn’t say the activists and protesters should be deprived of their civil rights. The sun shineth on both the wicked and the just – and both breathe the same air, isn’t it? I’m referring to a potential perpetrator identified by good intelligence to have the intent, and lethal equipment, to cause harm. A three-day warrantless detention and intense investigation may save hundreds of lives, including your own and mine and our loved ones. I say three days are not enough. –BENCARD”

    –I stand corrected if that was not what you meant. Maybe I was just too carried away by the idea of one fanatical anti-communist blogger who simply does not give a damn to the rising number of extrajudicial killings in the country simply because he thinks they are terrorists out to wreak havoc on the corrupt democratic institutions he so cares about.

    The three-day detention is a limit set by the new law to prevent possible human rights abuses by government agents. Sorry, but that’s the price you have to pay for living in a country which, at least on paper, adheres to due process of law. The Human Security Act of 2007 (this name is full of hypocrisy) or the Anti-Terror Law as it is popularly called, cannot and should not go above the fundamental law of the land — the Constitution — which puts premium on due process and the protection of human rights.

  4. MANOLO, THE LOOK OF YOUR OLD BLOG IS MUCH BETTER COMPARED TO THIS ONE. I MEAN THAT LOOK WITH A DARK GREEN TO BLACK BACKGROUND. YOUR BLOG DOES NOT LOOK GOOD ON MY 800 X 600 MONITOR.

  5. re: appearance of the blog. noted. lol. but seriously, will talk to gail about it.

    rego, re: ditties, remember “may pulis, may pulis, sa ilalim ng tulay…”? the ditty will always play a role in politics. it expresses what people feel. and the danger of “they’re all evil” is that it’s often used to justify tolerating it. of course there are crooks on both sides. but if you oppose the crook with power -much more so, the person who starts doing crooked things to preserve power- it keeps all the crooks on their toes, because it serves as a warning to the crooks waiting to take over, that it will be harder for them. because, we didn’t tolerate the old crooks so it will be a warning to the new. this has always been one of my main points with the president -when it became clear there was money business going on, there’s no more reason to support her. if you do, it guarantees not just more of the same, but worse. and you forget that jun magsaysay in pursuing the fertilizer scam got slammed with every possible trick on the palace’s part, to prevent the success of his inquiry, which remains suspended.

  6. Zapper and Bystander,

    Nagtatalo kayo about pork barrel diversion to npa’s activities to bring down the government. di kaya ma maiigi na alisin na lang ang pork barrel? That way there will be no worries like that . Wala naman yata kasing kasing audit system ang pork barrel so there is really now way for us to know where the money is being spent. Di lang sa mga leftist ha. Kahit naman yung mga non leftist hindi rin natin alam kung saan talaga nagagastos ang pork barrel.

  7. ASSUMPTION: The argument based on “moral equivalence” is fallacious, “the blind vice of most liberals.”

    FACT: Not some blind liberals but Reagan neocon Jeanne Kirkpatrick has cleverly given birth to the phrasal concoction of “moral equivalence” in order to denounce and kill it. The basis for JK’s rejection of what she invented is her self-indulgence that America is right and therefore USSR is wrong. So, when the US commits atrocities it is not terrorism but counter-insurgency or something else.

    ASSUMPTION: Once Al-Qaeda and OB get the Bomb, there is nothing to restrain them from using it.

    FACT: Nothing restrained US from using the Bomb in Japan. It is no secret the US is planning to use it (or some “baby” version of it) against Iran on suspicion (no hard evidence) that Iran is developing its own.

    ASSUMPTION: “Collateral damage” when caused by US (and Israel) is “truly” unintentional and accidental.

    FACT: The killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Japan as a result of the use of the Bomb was not unintentional or accidental. The Bomb was dropped not to kill enemy combatants or military installations but precisely to wipe out civilian populations.

    When an Israeli F-16 fighter jet struck a crowded city block in Gaza that wiped it out and hurt at least 145 Palestinians, and nine children aged between two months and 13 years were among the 13 bystanders killed in the strike, the “collateral damage” is not unintentional and accidental.

    ASSUMPTION: Nihilism is being practiced by “them” against “us.”

    FACT: Millions around the world are dying DAILY of preventable diseases and hunger and the one power that has the capability to forestall the widespread destruction of humanity is doing too little about it.

    ASSUMPTION: What the American revolutionaries did was to throw British tea into Boston harbor demonstrating how much the colonists loved freedom and independence.

    FACT: No car bombs then but atrocities against Loyalists included killing, burning and destruction of homes and farms, slaughter of loved ones before adversary’s eyes, torture such as disembowelment, for the purpose of instilling fear.

    ASSUMPTION: The Patriots were freedom-fighters.

    FACT: England, as the legitimate authority maintaining the Rule of Law, characterized George Washington and the Patriots as “terrorists.”

    ASSUMPTION: Attack on the US by Saddam and Iraq was imminent (Condi’s fear of the mushroom clouds).

    FACT: Iraq never attacked US. Bush and the US invaded and attacked Iraq.

    ASSUMTION: Nine Eleven WAS a plot of Saddam Hussein’s all along, planed by Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Youssef who were merely using the fanatical Al Qaeda members to carry it out.

    FACT: Neither BUSH, the CIA nor the entire military and intelligence machinery of the US can prove the fantasy. The burden of proof, according to Bencard, is upon the one asserting it.

    ASSUMPTION: The new web design for quezon.ph looks nice.

    FACT: That last design is a lot nicer.

  8. Abe,
    When Mohammed el Baradei accepted the Nobel Peace Prize last year, his main message was that the greatest danger facing humanity today was “nuclear terrorism”. He made no bones about it. He said what I just said, that if and when Al Qaeda got the Bomb, even just a dirty bomb, they would surely deploy it. I happen to believe him even if he is not a NEOCON. I think this message from el Baradei is also a judgment about “moral equivalence” in the world today and refutes the application of “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” to the present situation we all face vis-a-vis Al Qaeda. There is absolutely no equivalence between AQ and the Western nuclear powers in this sense. Even though the United States has not only nuclear power, but conventional military power to completely and utterly destroy any country or subjugate them by force, it certainly has not done so in the over half a century that it could have. Germany and Japan could have been laid to utter waste, and certainly after the Cold War, so could Russia and China, if she were so inclined. That does not mean she is entirely a benign force in the world, but there simply is no equivalence. Not even close. I believe that would be el Baradei’s opinion too.

    Regarding my theory about KSM, I don’t think it is so fantastic as you claim. I just bought and read the first few chapters of Maria Ressa’s book, Seeds of Terror. Apparently she subscribes to the same fantasy that KSM and Ramzi Youssef were sent to the Philippines by Saddam Hussein and Iraq intel services in the early nineties in order to assist AQ operatives from Jemaah Islamiyah in the establishment of financing, training and planning cells, which we now know they accomplished, resulting in over thirty attacks world wide, including the Christmas Day bombings of 2000 in Indonesia (when dozens of Roman Catholic priest received explosive gifts from them); the Rizal Day bombings in the PI; and indeed 9/11 itself.

    It is not a fantasy even if it has not been proven to your satisfaction. Indeed it fits the known facts much much better than any of your denials or empty denunciations. Her book is available at National Book Store for those who want to take a harder look at the Iraqi role in 911 and every major terrorist attack that has occurred since then.

    The true story of 9/11 has not yet been told!

  9. For those like MB and Abe Margallo who insist that the terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed is just another man’s freedom fighter, let us recall that among his sterling accomplishments in the realm of freedom fighting was having sawed off another man’s head (Daniel Pearl) whilst videotaping it!

  10. “Zapper and Bystander,

    Nagtatalo kayo about pork barrel diversion to npa’s activities to bring down the government. di kaya ma maiigi na alisin na lang ang pork barrel? That way there will be no worries like that . Wala naman yata kasing kasing audit system ang pork barrel so there is really now way for us to know where the money is being spent. Di lang sa mga leftist ha. Kahit naman yung mga non leftist hindi rin natin alam kung saan talaga nagagastos ang pork barrel. –REGO”

    –Ya, much better to just abolish the pork barrel. But you know what, it is the administration allies in Congress who comprise the majority that does not want to for obvious reasons. And as far as I can remember, the opposition (both mainstream and the left) has not been receiving their CDF probably to pressure them into supporting the largest pork barrel recipient of all — Mrs. Arroyo.

  11. Bystander:

    What’s with the “Assumption – Fact” thingy?

    If you assume “Alpha” how in the world does that lead to a fact, “Beta” with no step in between?

    If you assume that my good friend Manuel Buencamino is a sensible man for saying that Abe is a sensible man, how does it become a fact that both are sensible men, when I could assume the opposite and therefore arrive at a contrary fact??

    Is it just neocons who use proper SYLLOGISMS anymore?

    (Major Premise, Minor Premise, Conclusion) for example

    IF A is equal B
    AND B is equal C
    THEN A is equal C.

    Help me out man!

  12. MB:

    What’s with the “Assumption – Fact” thingy?

    If you assume “Alpha” how in the world does that lead to a fact, “Beta” with no step in between?

    If you assume that Abe is a sensible man, how does it become a fact that Abe is really a sensible man, when I could assume the opposite and yet arrive at a contrary fact??

    Is it just neocons who use proper SYLLOGISMS anymore?

    (Major Premise, Minor Premise, Conclusion) for example

    IF A is equal B
    AND B is equal C
    THEN A is equal C.

    Help me out MB!

    I’m asking you this because here comes DJB SERIOUSLY asking me about it when in truth, I just JOKINGLY copied it from you.LOL.

  13. IF Norberto Gonzales has the same anti-communist mindset as DJB.

    AND Norberto Gonzales is in a state of denial with respect to extrajudicial killings.

    THEN DJB is also in a state of denial.

    Tama ba?

  14. Bystander,

    okay…LOL

    but it is still an inconvenient truth that your conclusion does not follow from the premises, as the syllogism you gave suffers from the “FELAPTON” fallacy variant (one of 256 possible in formal logic), as shown in this wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism

  15. “Regarding my theory about KSM, I don’t think it is so fantastic as you claim. I just bought and read the first few chapters of Maria Ressa’s book, Seeds of Terror. Apparently she subscribes to the same fantasy that KSM and Ramzi Youssef were sent to the Philippines by Saddam Hussein and Iraq intel services in the early nineties in order to assist AQ operatives from Jemaah Islamiyah in the establishment of financing, training and planning cells, which we now know they accomplished, resulting in over thirty attacks world wide, including the Christmas Day bombings of 2000 in Indonesia (when dozens of Roman Catholic priest received explosive gifts from them); the Rizal Day bombings in the PI; and indeed 9/11 itself. –DJB”

    –Forgive me for my ignorance, but I didn’t know that Maria Ressa (who became more famous for her delayed telecast / reporting of the wowowee incident, the show produced by abs-cbn of which news department she heads) has become such a terror expert that a person of DJB’s caliber could rely upon.

    For the ignorant like me, I really could not see the connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, with no step in between. Syllogisms, anyone?

  16. Bystander,

    Let’s get to the real source via syllogism

    IF KSM was an intel agent of Saddam Hussein who descended from Adam and Eve who were created by God
    AND KSM financed Al Qaeda
    THEN God financed Al Qaeda.

  17. manualbencamino… forget saddamhussein,etcetera. When it comes to God, the logic is:
    (a) since God knows of everything and is on control of everything,
    (b) then God controlled the processes that makes happen:
    … put in any sentence here you want, to include
    +++ financing AlQaeida
    +++ Jews/gypsies/others killed in World War II
    (with or without the Pope)
    +++ Ferdinand Edralin Marcos
    +++ GMA being the current resident of Malacanang

  18. ManuBuencamino says:

    ASSUMPTION: Abe Margallo is a sensible man
    FACT: He is a sensible man.

    FACT: Manuel Buencamino believes that Abe Margallo is a sensible man.

    I suspect, though, that ManuBuencamino’s opinion for AbeM is only for the topic at hand, and that ManuB reserves the right to change his opinion when Abe and ManuB reach disagreement on another matter.

  19. DJB, it is generally accepted that the United States, on separate occassions, financed both Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Let’s see you complete your syllogisms with those facts.

  20. UPn stude,

    The right to change one’s mind is one of the most precious and enjoyable rights of all. I wish more people would avail of that right. It would rid our world of ideo-fanatics.

  21. Abe,

    Much of what you wrote as “facts” on March 18 at 3:05 PM counter in a way the “assumptions”.

    With the “assumption” that the “Patriots were freedom-fighters”; you countered it with that “England, as the legitimate authority maintaining the Rule of Law, characterized George Washington and the Patriots as terrorists”.

    With the “assumption” that “Collateral damage when caused by US (and Israel) is truly unintentional and accidental”; you countered that with that the American atomic bomb was dropped precisely to wipe out civilian populations and that the collateral damage caused by an Israeli jet strike in a crowded Gaza city block is not unintentional and accidental.

    Etc…..

    But your “fact” that nothing restrained America from using the Atomic Bomb on Japan does not counter the “assumption” that “Once Al-Qaeda and OB get the Bomb, there is nothing to restrain them from using it”.

    Since that assumption obviously came from someone else; what then is your real assumption of what will happen if Al-Qaeda and Osama do get hold of that kind of a bomb?

    Will there be something to restrain them from using it?

  22. “Bystander,

    Let’s get to the real source via syllogism

    IF KSM was an intel agent of Saddam Hussein who descended from Adam and Eve who were created by God
    AND KSM financed Al Qaeda
    THEN God financed Al Qaeda –MB”

    Lol. Sarcastically funny.

  23. Abe,

    I meant that your concerned statement there didn’t go head to head unlike much of the rest.

  24. “in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand” – verbatim from the Human Security Act

    The quoted portion of the law above, which is an element of the crime, shows the party intended to be protected, the government. It is not for the protection of the people. The title of the Act is deceitful.

  25. bystander,

    “Lol. Sarcastically funny.”

    alam mo naman kung gaano ka twisted ang mga argumento at facts ng mga pro anti-terror bill.

    Pati ba naman ang pagpasabog ng atomic bombs sa nagasaki at hiroshima ay ginamit pa pang pogi points, kasi daw pwede naman magpasabog ng isang tambak na atomic bombs sa lahat ng kaaway, noon at ngayon, pero pinigilan nila ang sarili nila. That shows you how good and responsible they are di ba? The “western” powers proved they have self-restraint while the AQ et al have none.

    so i am beginning to wonder, kung totoo nga na si saddam ay meron WMD noon bakit hindi niya ginamit? At bakit ang AQ na pakawala daw ni saddam ay gumamit lang ng tatlong jet plane kung meron naman biological WMD na makukuha kay saddam para pumatay ng milyon-milyon tao. Hindi naman siguro mahirap magpuslit ng germs sa america before 9/11, di ba? Naka-enroll pa nga sa flying school yun mga 9/11 “pilots”. Kung yun makakalusot ano pa kaya yun mga microbyo.

    Thank God that saddam and AQ had the same self-restrained as the “western” races. Patay na sana tayong lahat kung wala silang self-restraint tulad ng mga nagasaki at hiroshima bombers.

  26. Bogchimash,

    Nice eyes! I think I see your point.

    All the other provisions of the Revised Penal Code enumerated in Sec. 3 are already precisely covered and the interpretation of “creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace” could still go either way in each case.

    It seems as if there was a conscious desire to make it a point that there has to be a demand (unlawful) on OUR government for it to to be covered as indicated by the “… coerce THE GOVERNMENT …”.

    For comparison; the USA PATRIOT ACT defines domestic terrorism as:

    ‘‘(5) the term ‘domestic terrorism’ means activities that—
    ‘‘(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are
    a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or
    of any State;
    ‘‘(B) appear to be intended—
    ‘‘(i) to intimidate or coerce A CIVILIAN population;
    ‘‘(ii) to influence the policy of A GOVERNMENT by
    intimidation or coercion; or
    ‘‘(iii) to affect the conduct of A GOVERNMENT by
    mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
    ‘‘(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction
    of the United States.’’.

  27. “but it is still an inconvenient truth that your conclusion does not follow from the premises, as the syllogism you gave suffers from the “FELAPTON” fallacy variant (one of 256 possible in formal logic), as shown in this wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllogism –DJB”

    for example:
    IF KSM was an intel agent of Saddam Hussein
    AND KSM financed Al Qaeda
    THEN Saddam Hussein financed Al Qaeda.

    apply it to your statements first before lecturing me on what syllogisms are or should be. to borrow the words of MB:

    “alam mo naman kung gaano ka twisted ang mga argumento at facts ng mga pro anti-terror bill.”

  28. JLeague,

    Thanks. To restate, the very meat of the statute is not germane to the title of the act. Human government. The law fails the sufficiency of title test as it misleads the public. Last I heard, this is unconstitutional.

  29. JLeague,

    Between “Human” and “government” I placed a not equal sign. It should’ve read Human does not equal government. I think the sign I used is a World Press special symbol hence it was omitted.

  30. justice league, the Philippine “Human Security Act” is a badly mangled legislation that was originally intended to combat terrorism but which its opponents succeeded in neutralizing and reduced to being “better than nothing”. It’not even a shadow of the U.S. prototype.

    I can understand the well-reasoned criticsm of it from both sides of the political spectrum, although I think the intransigent left should not be heard to complain about its efficacy.

    Perhaps, someday our people will realize that they have been had by the leftist elements in the senate, and will see the need for a real anti-terror law and agitate for its passage.

  31. So what do they do if, 2 weeks before elections, an AbuSayyaf 2-man team gets caught with a .45-caliber Colt plus a 9mm-Beretta, 7 grenades and written plans to detonate the grenades in the building where ManuBuencamino works?

    What if the ones caught were Indonesian nationals which Interpol identifies as JI?

  32. MB, Bystander,
    Am glad to see you’ve discovered Aristotle finally. As the wikipedia article shows, however, there are far many more ways of producing fallacious syllogisms than valid ones. It is the latter ones you’ve yet to discover as you seem to be most familiar with the former. LOL or SOS?

  33. Stude, I guess they will have to be either charged in a court of law with illegal possession of firearms within 48 hours, or released until such a charge is made. Upon arraignment, they can request for bail which could very well be granted unless the judge decides they are not entitled to it given the strong likelihood that they will jump bail. Released from detention ,they can proceed with their interrupted mission, and possibly succeed in blowing up the building where buencamino is working. This is just my personal theory of the case, and I defer to my colleagues who are specialists in criminal law.

  34. What then is your real assumption of what will happen if Al-Qaeda and Osama do get hold of that kind of a bomb? Will there be something to restrain them from using it? – Justice League
    JL,

    Thanks for asking. But please allow me to indulge in my assumption a little bit more.

    America is great because Americans of today are fundamentally good and just. There’s a lot more to be desired but America has done away with slavery as an economic system, it is seriously fighting the last remnants of the scourge of racism, and it is more and more looking at the world as one large community, to cite some quite laudable signs of progress.

    Moreover, things being equal, the justice system in America is something that presents itself as a model that deserves the admiration of the whole world. I guess this is because the “jury system,” the one democratic institution that America has chosen to preserve is well at work. Citizen jurors as you know represent a cross-section of the community initially chosen at random; once empanelled, they are empowered to hold to account aberrant members for acts or behavior inimical to the community. More often than not, the rich, the famous and the powerful could not escape the judgment of their peers. Enron’s Ken Lay, homemaking diva Martha Stewart, Congressman and “Top Gun” hero Duke Cunningham and well-connected White House adviser Scooter Libby are recent examples. Yet imperfect, but the jury system is as close as it gets to the very rudiments of direct democracy. It is “people power” in a microcosm. Unfortunately, the system is one of those democratic essentials that the Americans have decided to deny to the Filipinos.

    Now, let me go to the point. Of late, democracy in the larger or macrocosmic sense is seen as losing its potency in America. A large majority of Americans, for example, believe George W. Bush has lied into going to war in Iraq and as a result of this lack of forthrightness the killing, maiming and sometimes derangement of otherwise healthy and productive Americans are painfully continuing, not to mention the destruction, casualties and sufferings on the other side of the conflict. And yet the American people seem powerless to restrain Bush and his associates from the horrendous Iraq misadventure. The dilemma is evidenced by the refusal of the congressional representatives of the people to hearken to their (the peoples’) wisdom as expressed in the last elections. But there are limits to patience as well as to power. The memory of the people-powered movement that ultimately brought back home those Americans fortunate to survive from the vicious quagmire of Vietnam is too recent to be forgotten. It was the common sense of ordinary Americans that contained or restrained the furtherance of the catastrophic imprudence on the part of the American elites during the Vietnam War. Today, if Bush and the neocons remain stubborn, unwise and blindsided by their outrageously high-priced romanticism in present-day Manifest Destiny, it is not unlikely the anti-war movement will rise to its feet again.

    What of Bin Laden and AQ? Needless to state, Bush is not America and America is not Bush. Could the Cromwellian dictum be equally applicable to some wayward soul like Bin Laden? If it’s fair to say that Islam is not Bin Laden and Bin Laden is not Islam, that too is enough restraint. For, whether you believe it or not, there are far more fundamentally good, just, decent and well-educated Muslims who will hold Bin Laden and AQ accountable for their demented politics of hatred and violence.

  35. “MB, Bystander,
    Am glad to see you’ve discovered Aristotle finally. As the wikipedia article shows, however, there are far many more ways of producing fallacious syllogisms than valid ones. It is the latter ones you’ve yet to discover as you seem to be most familiar with the former. LOL or SOS? –DJB”

    –MB, mga fallacious daw yung syllogisms na ibinibigay natin sabi ni DJB. Payag ka ba? Ok cge, hindi na LOL. Eto na lang: bwahahaha.. Ang pikon talo..

  36. Lo and behold! Suddenly DJB has become an authority at syllogisms, even telling us that we are more prone to using fallacious than valid ones. But how can I rely on his supposed expertise when he obviously sought refuge from Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Buti na lang may wikipedia, kundi…

    Stop acting as if you know everythting, DJB. No one has the monopoly of knowledge.

  37. Upn stude and bencard,

    1. The police will charge them with illegal possession of firearms. the court court will release them on bail.

    2. “Released from detention ,they can proceed with their interrupted mission, and possibly succeed in blowing up the building where buencamino is working.”

    siguro naman hindi na matutuloy ang plano nila kasi alam na ng kapulisan ang plano at siguro naman steps will have been taken to secure the building.

    Pero kung nalusutan pa rin nila ang pulis despite the fact that the pulis knew about their plans then we can conlude :

    1. The anti-terror law cannot cure inefficiency and stupidity
    2. The problem is law enforcement not the present laws.

    I suppose I don’t have to remind you that I reached my conclusion purely from your scenario and assumptions.

  38. Well said, Abe. But some caveats (as usual):
    (1) The Philippines has been independent since 1946. I am not aware that America has denied the jury system to Filipinos, either here or there (where I’ve served on several juries myself). At any point we could have adopted that highly enlightened system and thus avoided the BS of the Daniel Smith trial and highly inefficient justice system that lacks fundamental credibility. But it is the uneradicated elitism of Filipino society itself that has refused to see the sense of the jury system. Blaming America for it hardly holds any water.

    (2) After a long detour, you come to the question that you began with and evaded it too. It isn’t just the neocons who are warning about the peril from nuclear terrorism that faces us all. Nobel Laureate Mohammed el Baradei himself says it is the greatest danger that faces humanity today. I frankly don’t see what Vietnam has to do with it. Or even Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were attacks conducted in a time of war, and are conventionally and convincingly defended as having prevented a long, arduous and eventually far more destructive continuation of that war.

    I guess I must press you for a better answer. What shall we do, what must we do to prevent Al Qaeda from attacking America or some other country, even one of their own simply to get their 76 vestal virgins each a lil sooner?

  39. Abe,

    Thanks but pressed for time; I can only comment on your last paragraph.

    Yes, I believe there are more fundamentally good, just, decent and well-educated Muslims than Bin Laden and AQ.

    But that you believe that those Muslims will hold Bin Laden and AQ accountable tends to give the idea that the restraints on Bin Laden and AQ on using that kind of a bomb will not hold and they therefore will use it.

    And that those Muslims will hold Bin Laden and AQ accountable have not prevented Bin Laden and AQ from what they have done either.

  40. DJB,

    “I guess I must press you for a better answer. What shall we do, what must we do to prevent Al Qaeda from attacking America or some other country, even one of their own simply to get their 76 vestal virgins each a lil sooner?”

    Another prime example of a neocon tactic – raising a question without context makes it appear reasonable and sensible.

    What is the premise behind your question to Abe?

    Arch-conservative Buchanan debunked and undressed your question a long time ago with a very straightforward commonsense question..

    He asked, do you think those muslims are acting that way because they got up from the wrong side of the bed?

    Simply stated, the answer to your question lies in what you have done and continue to do.

  41. What shall we do, what must we do to prevent Al Qaeda from attacking America or some other country, even one of their own simply to get their 76 vestal virgins each a lil sooner?

    One day, a neocon boy came home covered with bee stings.

    His mother said, “Oh poor little baby, what happened?”

    He replied, “I was attacked by a swarm of bees!”

    “Why?” asked mother.

    “I beat their bee-hive with a stick,” replied the child.

    And mother said, “Don’t worry, my poor baby. When daddy comes home he is going to burn all the beehives.”

  42. UPN student,

    Add election offense as there is a gun ban.

    If the persons were suspected to be JI, then the authorities should brace for the worse as the JI likes to hit several targets.

  43. One day, a teenager named Manuel came home with shirt torn, a shiny black eye, and blood coming out of his thigh from a knife slash.

    His mother said, “Oh poor little baby, what happened?”

    He replied, “I was attacked by a gang!”

    “Why?” asked the mother.

    “My classmate invited me to their house so I can help her with her Literature homework. When I was leaving her house, the neighborhood gang came to me saying “No outsiders allowed” and they started to beat me up,” replied Manuel.

    And Manuel’s mother said, “Ay… trespassing ka pala, eh. It is actually your fault; Just wash up, and don’t go back there again.”

  44. Abe,

    Regarding the “jury system”, some things can be said but one thing is that as far as I understand; it will still be under a judge.

    And that the judge may set aside the verdict/decision of the jury.

    A jury system in the Philippines will still have to contend with the kind of judges that we have. I don’t think the jurors even have to officially explain why they arrived at their decision while a judge must.

    Of course, Bencard or other lawyers in the U.S. can best explain the matter.

  45. You’re right, Justice League. In a jury system, there is still a judge, as we know it. He presides at the trial and resolve issues of law, including the rules of evidence. The jury is the trier of facts and makes findings according to admitted evidence, guided by the judge’s instructions.

    Should the jury’s verdict, or findings, is not in accord with the law or the evidence, the judge may, at the instance of the adverse party, set it aside, order a new trial, or render his own judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict. The jury doesn’t have to explain its action but the judge has to have a written memorandum of decision primarily for purposes of appeal to the higher court by the losing party.

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