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Dec 05

Colonial legislation, apologia for police actions, and the battle of the letters resumes

In the news, State visit not a junket, say legislators:Deputy Speaker: ‘I’ve not been inside a store’ while the Inquirer editorial says most congressmen were there as a presidential perk.

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Earlier today a very instructive dialogue took place, which ended up being broadcast despite government’s (typical) preference to keep it all hush-hush. In the end, the two parties had to agree to disagree, since Media will still be arrested if police are defied–Puno. I hope a transcript of the whole thing ends up on line.

Main points were three. Jake Macaset pointed out that media and government are classic adversaries. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro pointed out we belong to a “codal culture,” but that the codification of behavior on both sides isn’t a practical goal. Maria Ressa pointed out whichever way the government slices or dices what took place at the Peninsula -a “hostage situation,” or “terrorism,” or whatever- she can find an identical scenario covered just as aggressively by media abroad, and no democratic government anywhere did to journalists what our government did here at home.

My Arab News column resumes this week with Impatience With Colonial Legislation, comparing the reliance of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore on colonial laws that are incompatible with more modern notions of the relationship between the governors and the governed (two slight errors: autonomy was in 1935, independence in 1946, not both in 1946 as somehow crept into the article; and the Revised Penal Code dates back to 1930 and not 1933). I’ve been thinking about this since 2004, see my September 12, 2004 column Dangerous articles .An Inquirer editorial from June 24, 2007 explains why, and see, also, past entries in Peryodistang Pinay, San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet, and Red’s Herring.

In The Inquirer Current Blog, John Nery in his entry Dancing in the Senate, refers to his column, The limits of outrage.

And his interesting conclusion(s), reached after examining surveys and what they can tell us. In his column Nery says,

The lesson for regime-changers: Corruption scandals do not prematurely bring down an administration, but proof of something else entirely – brazen fraud, gross impunity, lewd dancing in the halls of the Senate.

And in the blog, he points out,

This also suggests that suspending the high-profile Senate hearings on the ZTE case, where revelations not only of corruption but of obvious duplicity or gross arrogance were a real possibility, was a strategic mistake on the part of the opposition.

My entry in the same blog is A new battle of the epistles, where I put together open letters and statements from students and teachers from the Ateneo and De La Salle, on the Peninsula caper.

In his column, Manuel Buencamino argues that,

The argument about means and ends does not apply to the exercise of a people’s sovereign will. The universally accepted principle and practice in that area is “by any means necessary.” Witness the American and Philippine revolutions and the struggle of the Israelis to establish their own country, to cite a few examples…

Thus, it’s a waste of time to argue over the righteousness or immorality of the course of action chosen by Trillanes and Lim. They had a right and a duty to act. And they did.

Agreeing on the form of government that will replace Gloria Arroyo and uniting behind that vision will better serve the public welfare.

I didn’t go to the Peninsula Hotel that Thursday because I saw Trillanes and Lim surrounded by junta advocates. I am against juntas.

An unelected government run by a coalition of ideologues and men in uniform, no matter how pure of heart they may be, is not my idea of a democracy.

Besides, ideologues have no qualms about sacrificing the principles that set apart civilized societies from barbarians–the rule of law, due process, human rights, and civil rights and liberties–on the altar of doctrine…

It would have been nice if Trillanes and Lim called for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo followed by a snap election. That would have erased all doubts about their commitment to a democratic way of life. Unfortunately, they chose to be vague about the type of government they envisioned.

Be that as it may, I applaud Senator Trillanes and General Lim for their courage and patriotism. They may not have triumphed, but they didn’t lose. There are no losers among those who fight fearlessly for what’s right.

Gloria Arroyo can bully cowards and weaklings, but the courageous and the stouthearted will always remain defiant, undefeated and unbowed.

As for my thoughts on where we are and what to do, please take a look at this comment I posted earlier today.

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180 comments

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  1. BrianB

    And you can quote me.

  2. David

    mlq3, if I understand you correctly, the issues are: (1) the failure to explain why everyone at the venue had to be detained; (2) the need for physical restraints; and (3) the need to hold the processing at Bicutan. Is it settled that there was a need to process and clear everyone at the venue?

  3. mlq3

    david, personally i think some sort of request for processing would have been reasonable, even more reasonable would have been to drop the word processing and say they wanted to verify credentials. no one can object to credentials being verified, particularly on the spot, i’d think. at the very least, considering security concerns, it would have been so reasonable if put that way as virtually impossible to turn down. but you know, the frogmarching of people was just gratuitous bullying.

    but i may be out of synch with other media people on this, as i personally support a national i.d. for example.

  4. David

    mlq3, that sounds very reasonable to me.

    On a different note, the US blog “Talking Points Memo” seems to me to be a good example of how a blog can be a tool for political change (or, at the very least, for bringing about the resignation of public officials). Cheers!

  5. grd

    mlq3. what about lawyer katrina legarda’s take on the issue? i posted it in another thread.

  6. grd

    1. Was the Manila Pen SEIZED by armed rebel faction of the AFP? Is there any corroborating evidence pointing to this? Seized meaning that its owners, staff, guests at the point of the gun and its guards were disarmed as in a real hostage situation.

    2. Was there a ‘formal’ declaration to that effect, i.e., takeover by force of the hotel, by Messrs Trillanes and Lim or any of those uniformed people in their company? MBW

    A single shot that shattered the glass door of the Makati Avenue entrance convinced the Manila Pen guards that it was useless resisting the marchers who had a more serious agenda that day… ellen tordecillas

    MBW, whatabout this account of your friend ellen? no force entry and just a plain press conference? where they toying with their gun when they shot the glass door?

  7. mlq3

    she seems more focused on the culpability of trillanes and co., no?

  8. DevilsAdvc8

    Do you have the laws cited today by Puno? That’s the relevant info.

    today wasn’t the day the media men were arrested, were they? then that isn’t relevant. what is relevant is what the police told those they arrested what they were being arrested for. Manolo’s point is you can’t arrest someone today, and tell him it’s the charge is murder and then modify it tomorrow, saying it was just jaywalking all along.

    today is fixing the fuck-up day. in that, Puno makes himself very relevant.

    Issue #1 — Is the police allowed to erect a yellow line (virtual or not) and restrict (with penalty of law) access?

    Yes, they are allowed. But did they? Moreover, even if they did, journalists were already inside, so anyone they may want to restrict and penalize would have to come from outside that line. hence, virtual yellow line or not, the journalists arrested cannot be charged that they crossed that yellow line. unless the police had that yellow line established even before Manila Pen was taken over.

    Issue #2 — Is the police allowed to arrest the media after a stand-off such as last Thursday’s Pen Adventure?

    yes. but not without telling them what the charges were. as it is, they were detained for identity verification. and yet that could’ve been done on-site. if it was for obstruction of justice, the police could’ve said so at that time. and yet they didn’t, which only means that wasn’t the reason they had for arresting those journalists (at that time). and since there was no need to haul those journalists to Bicutan if the police were sincerely only after identity verification, and the police weren’t even thinking the media was obstructing justice at that time, then what reason can the police give us of why they insisted on arresting the media that day?

    to a mere observer, it can only be INTIMIDATION, and simple pique.

  9. vic

    In the end, the two parties had to agree to disagree, since Media will still be arrested if police are defied–Puno.

    mlq 3, quite a few times, the Chief of Police or the Authorities (now I’m talking about cases here in our situation) and the aggrieved party may ended up in the apposite sides, the Politicians will settle their difference by going the Neutral third Party to intercede. And that is either the direct review of the incident or a full blown public inquiry, if there is no challenges or charges filed in courts where during the pre-trial all evidence are subject to challenge for admissibility based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    and usually, the recommendations of the Third Party will be the basis for the guidelines of the Actions the Next Time for both Parties and if needed be enacted into laws also subject to the Charter. Usually the basis for the limits of all rights, including the fundamental rights, established as precedent is the Oakes Test (you may google search that) in simple term, is should be reasonable and can be justified and it is spelled very clearly in that case…

  10. grd

    right manolo. i just thought with her parting words, she did show her disgust towards the media.

    and what can you say about this first hand account of ellen tordecillas:

    Reporters were getting text messages from editors and friends of the government order to vacate the hotel because they were going to force their way in to arrest the REBELS. Initially, we were about a hundred journalists covering the standoff from inside the hotel, limited to the corridor leading to the Rizal Room.

    When the warning came, one by one some reporters left. Only a little over 20 of us stayed put. We talked among ourselves and AGREED TO LINK ARMS JUST IN CASE WE WOULD BE FORCIBLY REMOVED. We also gathered and moistened table napkins to counter the effects of tear gas. Some kind souls in the hotel gave us face towels. But those were not enough, so we borrowed pocket knives and started cutting the table cloths. We promised among ourselves that we would pay Manila Pen if they billed us for the table cloth which we used as gas masks… tordecillas

    there was an order given to vacate the area (and there was a deadline too) but it seems ellen and co (a little over 20 of them) have already decided to defy that order and stay put. is this what you meant with what you wrote below ” when media held its ground”? is their act justifiable?

    there was no police line, virtual or real. there was a “we’re gunna go in, guns a blazin, warny warny fellahs” and when media held its ground, then they got even by ganging up on the media afterwards… mlq3

  11. grd

    here’s the interesting part:

    Shortly before 5 p.m., we heard gunshots. The rebels remained calm. They let us into Rizal Room. We could feel the building shake as the armored personnel carrier repeatedly slammed the hotel door. Tear gas wafted through the room.

    By then Lim and Trillanes announced to us that to save lives, they were leaving the hotel. “Like soldiers, we are going face this,” Trillanes said. Lim couldn’t hide his disappointment over the support that never came. “Dissent without action is consent,” he said.

    We got information that snipers would fire at Lim and Trillanes once they came out of the hotel. “Let it be,” the two said.

    Fr. Robert Reyes said a prayer.

    We arranged ourselves in the room. TV camera crew and photographers positioned themselves near the door. RIGHT BEHIND THEM WERE LIM AND TRILLANES and other members of media. Bishop Julio Labayen and others were in the last row.

    When the fully armed, fully masked SAF pushed the door open aiming their high-powered firearms at us, they were greeted by TV cameras as we shouted “Media kami.” tordecillas

    manolo, was the media hostage of trillanes & lim? i swear i’ve watched this scene in a movie before; terrorists sorround themselves with hostages. it seems to me that was the case here. only you have willing victims. yet they cry foul afterwards.

    vic is right there should be a third party to look into this incident. although, in the phils this will be met with skepticism due to this immoral govt.

  12. supremo

    This is why reading your rights while being arrested as practice in the US should be adapted in the Philippines.

  13. kimosabe27

    Speaking of rights…condolences to the family of Prof. Monico Atienza, my former prof. in Phil. Lit. and a staunch advocate of hr. Vet of FQS and admired by many. Indeed, his kind is a disappearing breed.

    Effing pips want to go back to basics and stick us in the a** with the law…and since when the law becomes basic? it’s the people dammit…take heed of the lives of people who went against the law and gave us back our freedoms, people like the late Prof. Atienza.

    Nuff said.

  14. baycas

    Yellow Lines Wanting

    The duty to serve arrest warrants versus freedom of the press.
    The duty to save innocent lives versus the public’s right to information.
    The duty to quell rebellion versus the duty to cover the news.

    —–

    Headline: Yellow line no longer needed when rebels turned yellow

    —–

    Embedded journalists (regardless if ordered to be one or as a matter of choice, as in The Pen Standoff) should wear as sash yellow “Police Line” barricade tape while covering the very important news.

    —–

    Throw yellow banana peels in the trash bin (not in APC tires) or better to eco-cycle them.

    —–

    “Yellow…yellow…room service? Will you kindly separate the whites from the de kolors over there at Rizal Room…or where Trillanes et al are HOLED up? I just need to spray my gun on the de kolors and HAUL the whites to Bagong Diwa.”

    “Yes…yes…a yellow tip awaits you. Thanks!”

  15. Vi Massart

    Geo,

    You say, “No offense, but what you think is different from what the law is.”

    Need I remind you that beforehand, you spoke of logic pertaining to doing what the police “requested” of members of media (“Isn’t it logical to expect the media to get out of such zones…especially when requested by police?”) to which I gladly stated my stand (“Depends on whether a police command is logical or not.”) and suddenly, you say there was a breach of the law — so what is exactly your point?

    Are you saying that police instructions should be obeyed by media who are doing their job because that’s how the law is crafted? Then say it.

    Let’s pretend that there was a breach of law — never mind the logic bit (whether a member of media should continue doing his/her job or not), so name me the law that says those members of media “holed up” with Lim & Trillanes who disobeyed police request (police request was your own phrase) have done something illegal.

    Is there a law that says media cannot disobey police request?

    It’s well and good to be speaking of law here and law there and being all too pompous about media (that are simply doing their job) having committed an illegal act but it’s one thing to twist the law and interpret it to intimidate media pure and simple.

  16. Vi Massart

    Mlq3 said, “i think media would have submitted to reasonable, on-the-spot or near-the-venue processing, properly explained, without the need for frogmarching people or manacling them.”

    I think so too. The purpose of press tags and press cards is for on-the-spot identification precisely to prevent the incidents that Mlq enumerated.

    This sort of thing can be avoided and shouldn’t happen when mutual respect exists. Members of both institutions can co-exist and work side by side if they don’t consider one or the other the enemy.

  17. Vi Massart

    Mlq3,

    In France we have a uniform national press ID issued by the police prefect. Conditions must be met to be entitled to a national press id. Perhaps this should be considered in the Philippines.

  18. baycas

    a yellow “police line” barricade tape worn as sash should do the trick…

  19. benign0

    I’ve seen the media in news snippets in Bandila shoving their cameras into the faces of dying people inside emergency rooms (why are they allowed in there?).

    Even doctors and other personnel were hijacked for interviews amidst the chaos in those emergency rooms.

    The Philippine Media have lost the plot and are left with nothing but their increasingly evident air of SELF IMPORTANCE. That they’d rake in billions in revenue is ok and even admirable in my book. However their hypocrisy starts when they pretend to be anything more than a cash-focused business enterprise.

    They have the vacuous minds of Pinoys hooked to their engineered-martyrdom brand. To be fair, that is quite a brilliant business model (at the league of the venerable Roman Catholic Church)!

  20. axwell

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  21. benign0

    Brand Power: Works best with vacuous-minded consumers.

    – 😀

  22. The Equalizer

    “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”Joseph Goebbels

  23. ptt

    “This is why reading your rights while being arrested as practice in the US should be adapted in the Philippines.”

    I don’t think the media will be happy if the country start practicing US Standards. Priority of US law enforcement officers when conducting arrests or when detaining suspects for felony investigations is officer safety. That means a suspect will usually be handcuffed and searched before he hears his Miranda rights when arrested. When shots are fired or when calls are made that involve firearms, the level of concern in officer safety goes even higher. In Manila Pen everybody on the scene would have been treated as a possible threat to officer safety. Accounts by Ellen Tordesillas say that some media personnel (to include herself) refused to be handcuffed or zip-tied when SAF came in. That would be a No-Go and would have resulted to a more unpleasant experience, if the arrest was done under US law enforcement standards.

  24. Jeg

    it’s significant that what the officials kept pointing out was the idea of “embedded” journalists. but even that concept has come under criticism since the iraq invasion because it’s turned out to be propaganda rather than real reporting.

    I would still bat for some sort of embedding in situations like Manila Pen. The embedding of journalists in the Iraq war is not an apt comparison since it is a war; a long drawn-out affair that takes years, and besides, embedded journalists in the Iraq war arent the only journalists. CNN and BBC have embedded ones and independent ones roaming around on their own. In situations like Manila Pen, the reporters on the inside can safely sign off while the embedded ones take over the coverage. They can even leave video and audio recording equipment running when they sign off.

  25. vic

    I don’t think the media will be happy if the country start practicing US Standards

    ptt, maybe not in the arrests department, but in the overall standard, more than happy. there is no freer press than the U.S., even with the Patriot Act. Can’t cite any restriction to its press, or any disappearance because some Media Entity is against its Government Policy, like the divisive Iraqi debacle. The Philippine Press is lively, but sometimes just can’t find where the line separating the fire and water meet…and the police authorities and judiciary are just as “lively”, they can dance as well along with their masters instead of being independence and impartial..

  26. Silent Waters

    MBW

    Media reports witnesses has said a shot was fired at the glass door panel to the hotel and threats were made to the security guards manning the PEN to force their way into the hotel. I really don’t care whether it was small arms or M16s. The important point is that they were asked NOT to come in as it’s the hotel right and yet they insisted and used firearms to enter the building.

    Please do not confuse your anti GMA stance with the criminal acts of those thugs.

  27. Jeg

    It’s hard to take sides on this Big Media versus the State business. It’s like choosing between Hitler and Stalin.

    Im no fan of Philippine megamedia, especially of the mega-organization ABS-CBN (no offense, MLQ3). Media people seem to feel like they have some sort of privileges not afforded to ordinary citizens like us. If a cop wants to handcuff you as part of their operations, then have yourself handcuffed. Dont go around saying, “Media ako! Punyeta!” We’re all workers doing our jobs and that’s part of the hazards of the job they chose, and they knew that when they chose it. They shouldnt assume that the cops know who they are. And for the love of God, stop whining. You can get back at them afterwards with sober facts, not drama.

  28. Jeg

    Ok the previous sounded harsh. Im not saying they should roll over. There are ways and legal remedies for them to protect themselves from abuses. ABS-CBN has lawyers out the wazoo.

    What I admire are the small outfits. The little radio stations and papers in the provinces who’re really in it for the service because they dont make money out of reporting.

  29. john marzan

    I also remember this administration making unreasonable demands to the media and warning them that they will be arrested if they possess, distribute, or play the Garci tapes on TV.

    The administration and their attack dog apologists pretty much said na “irresponsible” raw ang media kung papatulan nila ang Garci tapes “in aid of destabilization”.

    http://www.politicaljunkie.blogspot.com/2005/06/pcij-has-best-coverage-on-gloriagate.html

    Media, other tape ‘pirates’ face arrest, warns Gonzalez

    By Benjamin B. Pulta
    Thursday, 06 09, 2005

    In what could be the most draconian measure yet adopted by the Arroyo administration against alleged anti-government cons-pirators, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez yesterday warned that media practitioners and other persons in possession of an audio recording allegedly involving President Arroyo and an election officer discussing fraud strategies for the May 2004 elections may be arrested. (See related story)

    Gonzalez said the arrest, which may be done without a warrant, would be for violating a 40-year-old law passed during the martial-law government of then strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

    During a press briefing, he cited a law first passed in 1965, the Anti-Wiretapping Act, providing that persons in possession of a recording may be charged and held under custody.

    Earlier, he also warned whistle-blowers on another scandal linking the First Family — jueteng payola — saying they will be arrested if they as much as show up before a Senate hearing to testify on alleged jueteng payoffs to Mrs. Arroyo’s husband, son and brother-in-law. (See related story)

    “If they (people who make a recording of the taped conversation between Mrs. Arroyo and the poll official) persist in doing it after they have been warned, then they are making a continuing offense, subject to arrest by anybody who has personal knowledge if the crime was committed, or in their presence is being committed.” Gonzalez said.

    He further warned that published transcriptions may also be made a basis of an indictment. “After it was already known that this is an illegal tape, that is already a crime. Anybody who (is) responsible (is) already liable (under) the law,” the Justice secretary said.

    He added members of the media may be charged, too, regarding the matter.

    “Yes, the media (have a) liability. Anybody can call our attention to that. I don’t think an arrest at once is imperative. That can be done but that is a little harsh. I think we should subject everybody to preliminary investigation,” Gonzalez said.

  30. Silent Waters

    mlq3

    Glad you took care of that tonsil infection. A friend of mine passed away as he did not take care of an infection that was going around his body. He didn’t think too much of it and it was too late when he was sent to the hospital…

  31. benign0

    “Dont go around saying, “Media ako! Punyeta!” We’re all workers doing our jobs and that’s part of the hazards of the job they chose, and they knew that when they chose it. They shouldnt assume that the cops know who they are.”

    Therein lies the irony. By behaving that way, the Philippine Media now make themselves out to be no better than the average pompous lard-arse who mouths “alam mo ba kung sino ako?” whenever reminded of the need to comply to certain rules.

    So much for their hallowed position of ‘Guardians of rights of the Ordinary Pinoy’.

    Pinoy nga naman talaga.

    – 😀

  32. cvj

    In situations like Manila Pen, the reporters on the inside can safely sign off while the embedded ones take over the coverage. They can even leave video and audio recording equipment running when they sign off. – Jeg

    This can only work if you assume that the reporters are embedded with the good guys. I don’t think that assumption holds nowadays.

  33. cvj

    Therein lies the irony. By behaving that way, the Philippine Media now make themselves out to be no better than the average pompous lard-arse who mouths “alam mo ba kung sino ako?” whenever reminded of the need to comply to certain rules. – Benign0

    As usual, you oversimplify by ignoring context. You are assuming that the Media were breaking the rules instead of asserting their rights. From the preceding exchange (by mlq3, vi massart and geo), it does seem that the police have overstepped their bounds and media was well within their right to protest.

  34. Silent Waters

    Here lies the crux of the problem of this whole brohaha. It was very well explained by Mr Massart

    “This sort of thing can be avoided and shouldn’t happen when mutual respect exists. Members of both institutions can co-exist and work side by side if they don’t consider one or the other the enemy.”

    The government has never trusted the media because they feel that they’ve been crucified since day one and the media never trusted the government since there’s a lot of mysterious extra judicial actions by the government.

    IMO, both sides have their share of problems. Media has not exactly been fair to the government. and Governement has not solved a major problem with respect to the extra judicial killings.

  35. Beancurd

    “If a cop wants to handcuff you as part of their operations, then have yourself handcuffed. Dont go around saying, “Media ako! Punyeta!” We’re all workers doing our jobs and that’s part of the hazards of the job they chose, and they knew that when they chose it. They shouldnt assume that the cops know who they are. And for the love of God, stop whining. You can get back at them afterwards with sober facts, not drama.”

    With all due respect, the statement sounds more like a justification for arbitrariness and whimsical action and betrays a lack of proper grounding with regard to the concepts underlying such terms as free press, police and government. A free press is supposed to be free while the police and the government, well you do not preface it as the free police or the free government.

    And especially in the Pen kind of situation, the cops are supposed to know the criminals as opposed to the media, the hostages, if any, and the innocent bystanders, notwithstanding that the cops asked everyone aside from the alleged rebels to leave the area. Such announcement is not a license to arrest everyone in the area nor is it, if it came to it, a license to shoot everyone, including the rebels themselves. Such attitude is just like the attitude of the present government, that is, that it can do as it pleases just like everyone else, forgetting that it is the government and that it is supposed to maintan certain and decent standards. And then we expect the government to do better? Common guys, be consistent.

  36. Jeg

    And especially in the Pen kind of situation, the cops are supposed to know the criminals as opposed to the media, the hostages, if any, and the innocent bystanders, notwithstanding that the cops asked everyone aside from the alleged rebels to leave the area.

    Yes that would be ideal. But that’s not the case in every single hostage/terrorist/Manila-Pen-type situation. They dont know who everybody is. They then detain everybody for processing. MLQ3 is correct. They shouldve been processed in the premises and not hauled off to Bicutan or wherever. That was abuse. The cops shouldve done the processing right there, with the media and everybody else handcuffed or guarded at gunpoint, until theyre cleared.

  37. Jeg

    Im not defending the actions of the cops. Im just looking at it from their point of view and what they shouldve done. The fact that we can no longer assume theyre the good guys, as cvj said, did not factor into my argument.

  38. Silent Waters

    cvj

    You are also making an assumption that the government is breaking the rules. I guess the problem really lies in the fact that we love to make assumptions. “The Akala kasi” syndrome.

    Each institution will have their own perspectives on how far each can go before “a rule” is broken. Unfortunately, they don’t meet at the same point.

    AND UNFORTUNATELY, people here really color their opinions. Their biases proves it as much and they will never be fair to either parties.

  39. Geo

    “From the preceding exchange (by mlq3, vi massart and geo), it does seem that the police have overstepped their bounds and media was well within their right to protest.” –cvj

    Huh? I don’t think that the issue has been resolved. The media has a right to complain, sure, but do the police have a right to limit access to a crime scene?

    I still think (but am not sure) that the Penal Code allows, during a “siege”, the police comander to identify a no-pass line (i.e. the real or virtual “yellow line”) and to restrict any and all tresspassing thereof.

    In this specific case, there were some media members ALREADY inside the no-go zone. But they were asked repeatedly to come out and get repositioned. Many did.

    MLQ3 has referred to the constitution which allows free speech/press. I agree with that, of course. But if there’s a law that allows the police to make a line and enforce it, well, then the police CAN tell the press to get out.

    (BTW, I am not evaluating the arrest/detention; I am trying to first know what the law actually says.)

  40. Beancurd

    “The cops shouldve done the processing right there, with the media and everybody else handcuffed or guarded at gunpoint, until theyre cleared.”

    Done it right there, yes. Handcuffed or guarded? in other words detained, no. The law does not allow that. Processed? If that is meant inventorying them, ascertaining their identities and getting their addresses for future reference, whether to be interviewed as potential witnesses, etc., i find nothing wrong in that and that does not violate the law. But then, why use “process” when there are more accurate and descriptive terms? The power of language is as much being employed by the government as a tool for coercion and subservience as much as the naked power of the police. Take care not to fall into that frame of mind.

  41. sparks

    So much for their hallowed position of ‘Guardians of rights of the Ordinary Pinoy’. Pinoy nga naman talaga. – benigno

    You know, the one bright shining star on Aussie free TV, and a show which I absolutely ADORE, is Chaser’s War on Everthing. How to describe? Its basically a satire on mostly political events and figures.

    These are guys whom high-ranking politicians, John Howard and Kevin Rudd included, have to tolerate to literally come up to them (as in, walang entourage ng masculados) so they can play their pranks. You can look them up on google.

    Here’s John Howard (formerly) the most powerful man on this continent, tolerating Chaser’s coming up to him with axes and power saws. So much for national security eh?

    You want something more serious? How about an international diplomatic event? Here are the Chaser guys, one of them, Chaz dressed up as Osama Bin Laden, actually breaking through 3 levels of security in APEC Sydney.

    Mga Aussies nga naman talaga. Pasaway!!!

  42. Jeg

    BC: Handcuffed or guarded? in other words detained, no. The law does not allow that.

    I wouldnt know about whether the law allows that or not. But to protect fellow cops and civilians, then yes they have to be detained and secured, and that would be a legally defensible position for the cops to take if ever theyre investigated later at an inquest or something. To the cops, any one of them could pose a potential threat.

    (By the way, I think ‘process’ is pretty accurate and descriptive. It has a technical and precise meaning in forensics. And if the State uses the power of language, then Mega-media is at least as adept as they are at it.)

  43. Diego Torres

    The media issue was simply a side issue. Let us not belabor the aftermath of the Pen incident or we shall be missing the core of the problem again.

    There is a greater injustice that is happening out there and these men , more than any of us bloggers . have been made to suffer that . They were incarcerated by the very person who ,conscripting the bureaucracy , stole our votes and and our decency.

    The accused soldiers were treated like rats. Cornered and pawed by some assholes . I do not think they will be afforded their day in court.

    We can all talk and discuss petty side issues to death but we can never stand among these brave men. I believe these men did not fail, we did.

  44. inodoro ni emilie

    I’ve seen the media in news snippets in Bandila shoving their cameras into the faces of dying people inside emergency rooms (why are they allowed in there?).

    myopia at its best. all done only to find excuse to whimper, “ang pinoy nga naman.” like as if this isn’t happening in australia’s current affairs.

    ang benigs nga naman, hindi marunong maglinis ng muta sa mata.

  45. ronin

    “In France we have a uniform national press ID issued by the police prefect. Conditions must be met to be entitled to a national press id. Perhaps this should be considered in the Philippines.” – Vi Massart

    The police prefect issuing press IDs to journalists? Wouldn’t this make them beholden to the police instead? An ID issued by the media company the reporter belongs to (i.e. PDI, ABS-CBN etc.) and/or one issued by the NPC (for print media) or KBP (broadcast media) (as it is practiced now), for me, is still the best option.

  46. BrianB

    Manolo,

    Ordinary people are afraid of the media. They’re afraid of the police, they’re afraid of politicians and they’re afraid of rich people. Think about that.

  47. benign0

    “We can all talk and discuss petty side issues to death but we can never stand among these brave men. I believe these men did not fail, we did.”

    Actually these men (if you are referring to Trillanes and his minions) should be lined up in front of a firing squad like most decent societies do. 😀

  48. benign0

    The simple reality is that rebels that succeed go down in history as heroes.

    Those who fail will be remembered as nothing more than pathetic chumps.

    Problem with Pinoys society is that Pinoys relate more with losers than with winners.

    – 😀

  49. Bokyo

    I really don’t understand the “obstruction of justice” being said by the police. If the strategy was to ram an APC in the front gate of Hotel to make their way in and throw tear gas canisters inside, then they might think twice in doing it if they though that there were civilians and journalists inside. But if they do it nonetheless, where is obstruction there? What I mean is that it would have been better justified (the “obstruction of justice line”) if they have to devise a safer strategy.

  50. Bokyo

    It doesn’t help them also making the arrest, handcuffing the journalists, then announcing later that it is only for processing, then apologizing, then later warning the journalists that they will be handcuffed again if they do it again. Ano ba talaga? If they have to arrest or charge anybody, they have to do it if that is within the law. If not, they have no right to warn or frighten anybody with that threat.

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