On Hello Garci, amnesties, 9/11 and Cris Mendez

Being uber busy with offline engagements of late has somewhat prevented me from blogging about the latest events that are making the mainstream media healdlines of late.

There’s the revived ‘Hello, Garci‘ issue, the recent proclamation of an amnesty for CPP-NDF-NPA and other communist rebels, and one of the hottest issues, the senseless and tragic death of Cris Mendez.

On ‘Hello, Garci’

I am in favor of the Senate’s investigation of the issue. This is in the absence of a more credible, more indipendent body or commission that would carry out the investigation armed by laws to give it teeth and brawn as it will have to weave through the myriad of corrupt and vile connections, collusions and collaborations that has enthralled the entire bureaucracy of the government.

As for Sen Santiago’s claim that playing of the ‘Hello Garci’ recordings in the Senate would be a violation of the RA 4200 and provisions of the Constitution safeguarding the privacy of communications between two persons; I am with Sen Escudero on this one. By saying that such laws and provisions of the Constitution would be violated if one Senator let alone the entire Upper House, would listen to the recordings is assuming and even proving that the recordings were indeed wiretapped conversations between two individuals.

As for the the contention of the Administration Senators that the investigation should focus only on the persons or groups, purportedly from the Armed Forces, who allegedly committed the wiretappings and not on the ‘material’ of the recordings; I agree and disagree.

I agree that the investigations should draw out those who were responsible for the wiretappings for clearly, they violated RA 4200 and the Constitutions. If indeed it was the military, the full strenght of the law should be applied because for once, this will show that indeed as enshrined in Sec. III Article II, 1987 Constitution, “Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military.”

More so, if the military were to be proven to have violated the laws protecting the rights to the privacy of communication, what more about the allegations that the military has been violating the human and democratic rights of those who are not so friendly and critical of the current administration.

On the second point, I disagree that the investigations should not touch on the ‘material’ of the recordings. Is this possible? Is this practical? Can you listen, let’s say, to a song and only focus on who sang it, how it was sang and not what the song was about? If you’re a vocal coach or sound engineer perhaps you could. But if you’re a legal entity or body tasked by the Constitution to serve justice and the welfare of the people, your task does not end with pin-pointing who did the recordings and bringing them to justice, more to the point, you’re obligated to pin-point and prosecute if necessary the persons who conversed in the recordings if the nature of their conversation involves the national interests. And I tell you, talking about rigging the national elections is a paramount national interest.

If the Senate fails to deliver this time around, the years leading up to the 2010 Presidential elections would be more tumultuous than the years when the ‘Hello, Garci’ was unleashed to the public for the very first time.

The message here is clear and simple, if indeed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not call Comelec Commissioner Virgillo Garcillano over the phone and conpired to manipulate the results of the elections to her favor, then the current occupier of Malacanang and her minions should not be afraid of this new investigation. Sure the burden of proof is with the opposition, but if GMA were indeed innocent, they would waste no time in presenting evidence that would prove as such, instead of stalling and watering down the investigations with smokescreen tactics like EO 464, the numbers game in Congress and flaunting the need of JDV, I mean supposed need to amend our current Constitution.

The question still stands, did GMA, Garcillano and the AFP conspired to manipulate the results of the previous Presidential elections? Looking back on all the actions GMA and her minions undertook ever since the issue first came out, the people still belives, “Mukhang guilty.

As for the Amnesty on communist rebels

I just hope the Government is sincere this time around, which is for the nth time if one would recall. However, this carrot-and-stick method would not be really effective if the root causes of the armed rebellion are not addressed. And I’m telling you, as long as the government listens to Uncle Sam and his pals from the West this will last even longer.

Aside from the amnesty, the government should also drop the cases against activists, progressive groups and their representatives in government. It should also really, really investigate the numerous cases of human rights abuses and forced disappearances. This will be a good start to really ending the armed struggle in the country.

Justice for Criz Mendez

There are no fraternities, officially recognized ones, in DLSU-D so my take on the issue of fraternities and sororities would be a bit handicapped. Nonetheless, this cannot prevent me from joining those who are mourning the loss of Criz Mendez and calling for justice to be done to him as well as all the other victims of frat-related deaths, injuries and abuses.

Banning frats is not the solution. However, I must stress that hazing is just plain dumb, neanderthal and barbaric. Do parents beat their children to a pulp in order to welcome them into their family and to teach them loyalty?

The video below is a tribute to Cris Mendez, may it all send the message loud and clear, justice for Criz, justice for all the victims of hazing and frat-related violences. Kudos to Shari and The Jester-in-Exile and of course adrianatorres1111 for the video.

Remembering 9/11

Today is the 6th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Prayers for all the victims and their families. Prayers as well to those who became the innocent targets of George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Guatanamo Bay in Cuba and in Iraq.

In line with this, I’ll be attending a Forum on Terrorism organized by the District Justice and Peace Commission of the De La Salle Philippines at the College of St. Benilde this 1pm in the afternoon. I’ll blog about it later tonight or tomorrow.

Until then, sulong para sa karapatan, kalayaan, kapayapaan at hustisya!

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