President’s coffee talk on terrorism

Today was going to be all about me. Where Are the Freedom Parks of Philippine Democracy? is my Arab News column for this week. Leon Kilat publishes my answers to his questions on blogging.

But someone called me up, frantically telling me to turn on ANC, and it turns out the President is holding some sort of talk show with her parliament-in-waiting, the members of the House of Representatives.

They’re discussing, as of this moment (2:17 p.m.), the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Rep. Teddy Locsin says the chairmen of the committees involved have made sure that civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution have been protected by limiting the period during which people accused of terrorism can be detained without charges to 3 days; the President and the PNP point to much longer allowable periods (the President mentioned “in Malaysia it’s 28 days!”; the PNP says their position is “15 days”; the other congressmen aren’t pleased; Locsin replied the aim should be to increase authority to conduct surveillance, since it’s more important to prevent acts of terrorism than to punish terrorists after the fact, and longer detention periods can be permitted for foreigners, who don’t enjoy the rights absolutely guaranteed Filipinos. Cuenco says no, longer detention periods for everybody! Congressmen start debating in front of the President.

The President, curtly: “Ano ang parusa?”. What’s the punishment, for acts of terrorism. More answers. More soothing statements from congressmen about respecting human rights; the President asks General Senga to confirm that the armed forces are aware of human rights; Gen. Senga says soothing things about “modules” the soldiers undergo concerning human rights. Locsin adds we should give credit to our intelligence operatives who, after all, were the ones who caught the first World Trade Center bombers.

Rep. Libanan brings up the need to fight “cyberterrorism.” Rep. Cuenco says something should be done about “chemical warfare.” Rep. Roquito Ablan goes back to needing to detain people longer than three days.

President: They say the recent Bali bombers trained in the Philippines.

Lumibao: Two years ago, M’am.

Gen. Defensor (ret.) They train everywhere!

Locsin: Where do these reports come from? Is the Philippines the place to study terrorist methods?

Gen. Defensor (ret.): They foreigners don’t understand we’re fighting insurgency, they think we have big camps, when a small room could be a training camp…

Locsin: I really wonder how they can think they’re training terrorists here when the countryside is crawling with soldiers fighting insurgency…

President: And, especially now, when we are intensively fighting terrorism! (Translation: “Go, me!”)

(The administration is obviously unimpressed by today’s Inquirer editorial and with Maria Ressa, her book, and recent reports).

Roquito Ablan: Mumble, mumble, mumble…

It seems the congressmen agree more amendments are needed; Cuenco says you have to worry about the time it takes to get information on someone you arrested in Manila, from, say, Pakistan, which would take more than three days…

President: Who will head fight against terrorism? Right now it’s General Defensor heading the task force… (not clear what the answer is).

Locsin: The emphasis should be on prevention. If we suffer a 9-11, our society might not survive it.

More general mumbling; (I didn’t quote other congressmen whose names I don’t know or faces I failed to recognize) President puts on her best Minnie Mouse smile and congratulates everyone, both the House and the Senate(!) for their excellent, inspiring, efficient, and relevant work, etc., etc. Show ends at 2:34. Usual suspects object to the law, ANC reports say.

Tee-hee of the Day: Bro. Eddie Villanueva apparently held a press conference saying the President proposed “eight considerations,” including killing the case now given CPR and revived for use against him, if he desisted from running for president. Such, anyway, said Bro. Eddie, was the message conveyed “by the feeler from Malacanang!”. Did he mean fellah, feller, or you know, did he mean the Palace sent feelers (and by now we know what both sides feel about it)?

Manuel L. Quezon III.

25 thoughts on “President’s coffee talk on terrorism

  1. If Bro. eddie broke the law than he should answer for it just like everybody else.If he has any beans to spill than stop talking and just do it!
    I think we must put a stop on “blackmailing” goverment in order to get away w/ things.
    I think it’s wrong to keep information only to use it when you need it most.It only shows Bro. Eddie after all his fanatic preaching, plays the “dirty” game just the same!
    Delaying communicating a wrong doing does not make a person any more honest than the source of a wrong doing,if indeed it was a wrongdoing.
    It’s like serving food when it is freshly cooked and warm that it is good.Food losses it’s goodness when cold or pre heated.
    Just like Erap used his “masa” to try to get away w/ things.Bro. Eddie is using his religious following to protect him & ironicaly he did not even get a sold vote from them the last election!So who is fooling who????
    Manolo, it’s about time the country wakes up to the terrorist threat.
    Those who are not plotting against the goverment have nothing to fear.You can be sure though who the likely protesters will be.

  2. Ha! Ha! Ngayon ka lang Bro. Eddie? Why didn’t you bring those out before?

    As for the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the Left are scared because they are terrorists, too. They want to maintain the veil of secrecy over their sinister schemes. If those laws are good enough for Malaysia or Thailand, it should be good enough for us. Anyway, should we dither about that bill, just wait for the next series of bombings in Metro Manila.

  3. If Bro. Eddie has a case, let him face it, sure. But the government, in the short term, will have to deal with fallout, if there’s any. Or maybe they just want to test the waters.

    I support an anti-terrorism bill, and the President’s little coffee talk performance was actually the responsible thing to do. There should be more debates, and if Locsin’s insistence on affording every assurance in the law, that the civil liberties of Filipinos will be protected, then that’s the right kind of reassurance to give.

  4. Manolo, the goverment will be able to deal w/ the fallout.If in the last election not even his people voted solidly for him!
    I think Locsin has the credibility tp push those safeguards
    Just one thing though,I hope we can put a lid on being so paranoid that at the end the law will not have teeth or really be a diterant.

  5. You cannot conclude otherwise that there is political harrassment. Generally, what prosecutors do when estafa is filed as a result of a written agreement is to dismiss the Estafa, on the ground that this is better litigated as a civil action. Based on what I have read, it would seem that this falls within the purview of a civil case. That is why it is quite strange for the criminal case to prosper.

    Just heard at ANC that Sec. Gonzales granted Bro. Eddie’s request for 7 days to file a petition for review. This is highly irregular. Under the rules on Preliminary investigation, once you fail to file a petition within 15 days from receipt of the resolution, you lose your right. So, I think Gonzales is backtracking and bending the rules either (a) for fear of a backlash from the born again community; and/or (b) on orders from above to stay the action.

    Also, saw VP de Castro defending the palace that there is no political harrassment on Bro. Eddie because the legal procedure was followed. I guess he did not even consider abusing the legal procedure as a form of harrassment. What a disappointment!

    Manolo, just curious, what is the current relationship between FVR and Bro. Eddie? Are they still chums or was there also a falling out?

  6. I think FVR was not happy that Bro. Eddie ran. Recall FVR played a prominent role in at least one of the compartments of GMA’s campaign train. But FVR has been mending fences with people, for example his recent invitation to the Hyatt 10 to attend his book launching.

  7. I read your blog with great interest.

    Right off the bat, Benjie Defensor is right about terrorist training camps – a classroom would suffice and that potential terrorists train everywhere. (There are camps in Malaysia which are dubbed centres for Islamic studies and militaritic in set up but are bona-fide educational institutions recognized as such by the western world.)

    Funny, in spite of his being considered an odd ball by his peers and underlings in the military, Defensor is an intelligent tactician and unlike his sister, is capable of self control.

    What I’d like to know is how this anti-terrorist task force functions, where it gets its money, who they are teamed with abroad…

    Or is this task force one of those endless “presidential committees” without real substance, without real clout?

    In the final analysis, I’m more inclined to believe that there’s absolute clear and present danger of a Malacanang ‘terrorist’ attack in RP than all the talks of terrorist attacks on RP.

  8. I dont know why do they have to make a hero out of bro eddie? JC they should leave two civilians alone to battle each other in court. GMA should learn a lesson or two from Escudero how not to win an impeachment case. Never bla bla bla to death and learn when to stop and not to everreact.

  9. According to my pedestrian understanding of the law, penalizing someone after a crime is committed is the usual way of dealing with criminals. I would guess that any anti-terrorism law empowers the government to deal effectively with terrorists before the terrorist act is committed, since a 9/11 or a Bali type of attack would exact a great deal of harm to the public.

    That said, how would Congress ensure that the government would not use their anti-terrorist powers to primarily curtail the activities of the current administration’s political opponents?

  10. i was watching the last episode of the star wars compendium the other and i cant help but notice certain “commonalities” between the film and the current state of noypi politics (if you have the time or have watched the film why yes – its Return of the Sith)…i even had the psychopathic interest of re-casting the whole character set using our local officials in the roles that mirror their star wars counterpart…

    PS i really liked it when the great Obi Wan Kenobi (jedi master played by Ewan McGregor) reminded Anakin Skywalker (later to be Darth Vader) about the duties and responsibilities of being a Jedi (the film’s Republic Defenders – military na sigurong maituturing)…”Our loyalty and allegiance is only to the senate (liderato ng republic in the film) not to its leadership”…this is something that should be done here…by the way…it was a funny thing that the order executed by the film’s great antagonist (the chancellor aka darth sidious) had a number almost similar to the EO released here (in the film it was 66 and in here its 646)…la lang

  11. Amazing saga of the presidential contenders less than 2 years after the election. Two are dead and the other two are facing criminal charges.

  12. aha! no wonder brother eddie is so angry at malacanan! i am abhorred by the chutzpah of these people in power! don’t they have any decent bone in their body? imagine that, bro eddie, a servant of the lord, a shepherd of a flock, the founder of cibac, the father of joel villanueva- and yet they send a FEELER to him? bastos!

  13. Jonas, the line about cheated & lied is the propaganda that others are doing to control our minds & emotions.
    It has been repeated countless time by the pro impeachment congresmen & yet they lost!
    maybe it’s a lso a sign that there will always be more people who remain firm & have weighed the options.
    The garci tapes where ment to polute & destort our judgment.
    The moment we lose our objectivity & fairness anyone will control our hearts & minds.
    yah nga alex, looks like it’s battle to the end!
    JMcastro, I remember when Ramos came out w/ the National I.D. thing.The same concerns where aired.
    I think we must look at bottom lines.If you are plotting & have evil intensions, than you are in trouble!
    I think we must put a lid on our being paranoid & creating ghost.We always seem to be controled by fears insted of National interest.
    We seem to forget that we have funtioning Institutions that act as check & balance,over doing it also.There is always the SC.
    I think we must make an effort to look at the bigger picture always.Cause if not we drown in our small world.
    We can’t be procastinating forever.

  14. malacanang blinked in staying warrant of arrest for bro eddie. haha. clearly, bro eddie knew that it would come to this point and waited to use his leverage. bro eddie naman, kahit di ka arrestuhin, ilabas mo na ang mga alas mo.

    hello garci tapes meant to distort our judgmetnt. now THAT’s a distortion!! hehe. so gloria isntructed her ISAFP to tap garci so that we will get confused?!! how convoluted is that?

    plotting and evil intentions are 2 different things. if you are talking about criminal acts, the former, if there are acts done to pursue the criminal purpose. then that is punishable but the latter CAN NEVER BE PUNISHABLE in itself. i can have all the evil intentions in the world against gloria and i can do it all day and all night, forever, if i want and the govt cannot prosecute me.

    we must not lose our integrity and sense of what is right and wrong. if we continue to allow an illegal president to stay in power then the system is screwed and anything goes, not to mention the fact that we are allowing the moral temperature of this country to go south and letting immoral leaders and a lukewarm citizenry be a model for the youth who will be leading this country soon. seriously, as it is, of all the countries that i’ve lived and been in, the filipino is probably one of the worst. with the number of litterers, backbiters, traffic violators, liars/dishonest people, petty thieves etc. but how can you be law abiding when the one who pretends to be the president is not? we need somebody who is a good example. the ripple effect of that would be exponential.

  15. Mariatoo,thanks
    If it’s the garci tapes.Honestly,we might be making conclussions w/o having all the facts in our hands.Maybe years from now we might understand things better.Why are others more affected by it & others not?could it be because in order to give final judgment on matters we must be critical of the sources,intensions,partisanship,where they are coming from & above all if the evidence will stand in court.
    But than if it’s only about kicking out one personality just to repalce w/ another personality & than change again and so on.maybe it’s better to think very hard first and not let our emotions & perceptions cloud our judgment.Normaly best dicisions are not the result of incomplete information.
    I guess our problem is more of semantics.I look at bottom lines.I think Goverment has the right & obligation to protect the greater majority of people who wish to leave peaceful lives.I think the State must keep in check anybody who may have unrully ways of challenging the state.Challenging the State can be made in many forms.I’m no lawyer & i’m not into hair spliting things.But I think the spirit of the law is about fairness.The bottom line is if one is truely convinced of what he does.That person must be man enough too to accept whatever consequences come.I think it’s wrong to always pass the fault to others.I think that since we are an over politisized society we have lost objectivity.
    W/ due respect, but who is Bro. Eddie anyway?He just uses peoples weakness to project himself through his rightouness.His another human being that can make mistakes too.Is he any more important then the begar in the street.Is it because he has a following that makes him important?Maybe it’s just because he has more media coverage?
    I guess right & wrong starts first by how e make judegments after we have looked at the larger picture & not just personalities.It’s a real world and sadly things are not always black & white.It’s a world where who make the most noise gets the attention, but it does not follow the noises are the truth.I think that in our society the ones makes the most noise are those distructing us from what are the right things to do.

  16. brother eddie is acting like a spoiled brat- “sige hulihun niyo ako, dito lang ako, pero sige ka, pagnahuli niyo ako susumbong ko mga alam ko sa inyo!” btw, the charge is estafa, and more than likely kahit nakikialam ang gobyerno diyan kung malinis naman si mr villaneuva sa transaction nila with araneta, mahirap patunayan na may estafa na nangyari.

  17. joselu,

    I don’t think anybody has the capability to control other people’s mind much less the pro-impeachment congressmen. People who hate cheats and liars don’t need to have their ‘minds & emotions’ controlled.

    The ‘lost’ of the pro-impeachment congressmen doesn’t mean that Gloria was pure as white. It did not acquit Gloria, worst it even strengthened the suspicion that she indeed manipulated the elections.

    The Garci tapes, like toothpaste drawn out from the tube is there for your appreciation, whether you like it or not. You cannot do anything about it but to accept it’s existence.

  18. Actually, Brother Eddie just reacted naturally to an implied Palace threat. Miriam started the administration salvo by announcing a coup plot headed by Drilon and Cory. The DOJ followed it up by thretening to implement an arrest warrant on Bro. Eddie. I wouldn’t be surprised if people, Bro. Eddie included, would suspect that PGMA is behind it all.

    I think that the battle lines drawn by the opposition is correct: the Venable deal is a move to bring into question what they allege as useless expenditures by the administration. They should start bringing about more issues like this so that the government can seriously start trimming themselves.

    The opposition should start contesting the government line with regards to legitimate protest, which is I think what the debate on the anti-terrorist bill is all about.

    Bro. Eddie has always been consistent in trying to bring morality into the behaviour of government. He should continue talking about the importance of Christian behaviour, not just in churches and worship, but also in the conduct of government. Gen. Gudani is a perfect example of what can happen when Bro. Eddie can have his way.

    And the PGMA administration should start using its vast powers with finesse if they want the public to trust in their initiatives. I don’t think closing up avenues of legitimate dissent is something that the PGMA administration should do. Neither should they persecute the moderate leaders of the opposition. I like, though, the care and sensitivity that the administration has shown in the implementation of EVAT. I would like to think that they are making sure that that the public would not be hit with runaway increases in the prices of commodities. This is just about the primary reason why I still have some hope in PGMA’s administration.

  19. Yes Jonas, I fully agree w/ you I hate liers & cheaters too.
    But how can we take sides too of eqauly liers & cheaters too?
    If PGMA is dirty.Those hiting her are not any better!
    I think actions & behaviour of people spaek a lot.Because the behavior of someone who has not been profoundly affected is different.Reason, logic, analysis & above all not jumping to conclussions before every piece of information is tried & tested.
    Nobody will ever argue w/ what is right.We are all certainly good people deep in our hearts.But goodness has to translate also in actions that use reason, logic & fairness & we must put a lid on perceptions, malice & being paranoid. Because than there will never be an end to anything.we will just continue to be divided & no one wins.
    yes,PGMA had a temporary victory.If we where mature enough.The right thing to do is to put it aside for the moment & wait for next year.We should work for the things that will be good for the Nation.
    But in the Philippines insted.Things work diferently.We seem to be acting a lil boy who wont stop crying until he gets his candy!
    Can’t understand the urgency to get rid of one personality to be changed w/ what????
    I think only greed for power is the only reason for such reckless impatience!
    Those w/ the greed for power can certainly make use of youthful impatience & idealissim to push their agenda that I’ sure we don’t know what it may be.
    Yes Jonas, I agree, accept that it’s there, but also not give it more value than it deserves, since it’s illegal,it’s taited w/ partisanship & it was ment to divide & confuse the people,it was ment to ruin a person for the advantage of who knows who?It certainly can’t be FPJ!

  20. You don’t have to take sides all you do is reject a liar and a cheat. If those hitting Gloria are also dirty like her one have to come up with something like the Garci tapes to substantiate one’s allegations.

    I don’t know if Gloria had a ‘temporary victory’, all I know is that the country has been ‘losing’ since the Garci tapes expose.

    Yes we are mature. Mature people don’t allow a cheat and a liar to lead and govern. Mature people reject pretenders. Mature people will not allow one to govern the country without a mandate. Mature people don’t wait for next year to correct a wrong done yesterday.

    Yes, we’re like a ‘little boy’ but not one who wants his candy very much but one who was promised candy but instead discovered that it was poison.

    Isn’t it urgent to remove one who is not the elected leader? Isn’t it urgent if we are not sure if Gloria indeed cheated and lied that we must investigate to the fullest the issue of Garci tapes with the full cooperation of an ‘innocent’ Gloria? Gloria is not a mere ‘personality’ she is, supposed to be, the president of this country. It’s urgent that we know the truth of her staying in Malacanang.

    It’s easy to say that greed for power is the reason but that will only make sense if you are talking about the contents of the Garci tapes.

    I always hear some people say that the Garci tapes ‘is illegal’ forgetting the fact that it is not them but the Court who shall say or declare that. It is not them but the Court who will decide its fate.

  21. Going to the question of freedom parks, the bigger question is WHERE ARE THE PARKS? In sprawling Quezon City, there is a dearth of public parks. I am afraid that the children of subdivision-plenty Novaliches might confuse SM Fairview and Robinson’s as our version of Luneta. Those nice,little concrete Mexican-style plazas sprouted by Mayor Belmonte in the oddest corners are NOT parks. We want the real thing.

  22. F. Beginning with President Carlos P. Garcia, the parkland of QC was turned into other things. QC was designed to have fairly dense residential areas to keep them affordable to civil servants and blue collar workers, but with extensive parks for the public.

    The Quezon Memorial Circle, virtually the only remaining park, was not originally a park, it was supposed to be the site of the National Capitol. The parks would have been North Triangle, etc. And more. Oh well.

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