It's time the pen declared all out war against the sword
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-12-06
The Local Government Secretary and his PNP goons are dishing out bovine ordure in trying to justify their overkill at the Peninsula Hotel.

Panic equals overreaction and State intimidation showed its ugly face — a tank ramming through the hotel, the swarm of armed troops, arbitrary arrests of media covering the standoff and the imposition of an illegal curfew at midnight.

Threatening media with 'obstruction of justice' if they pursued the charge against the PNP for illegal warrant-less arrest only reflects terror tactics typical of bullies and blackmailers. Unfazed by DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno’s bullying pressure, media will pursue its issues against the unprecedented arrests and the harsh treatment of media people who were handled like common criminals.

If the tank assault on the Peninsula was undertaken in decent democracies like the US, UK and Australia — Puno, Generals Avelino Razon, Geary Barias, Asher Dolina et al would have been facing stern sanctions of no less than suspension or termination.

How can they justify a tank assault on a hotel lobby that was practically empty of hostile elements? There was nobody shooting at them.

When asked about who will answer for the damages, Puno et al displayed the typical see-what-you-made-me-do logic of a wife-beater by passing on the accountability to Trillanes and his group. Why penalize the group who is already poised to surrender?

ABS-CBN's Anthony Taberna struck a sensitive cord in his "Umagang Kay Ganda" segment when he commented that if media coverage was not present inside the Peninsula, it could have ended like the killing of former Assistant Secretary Panfilo Villaruel who staged the November 8, 2003 standoff at the ATO (Air Transportation Office) Tower.

Puno et al's claim that media may have obstructed justice has no basis in Marcos’ Presidential Decree 1829 that is still in effect:

Presidential Decree No. 1829/January 16, 1981

Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts:

(a) preventing witnesses from testifying in any criminal proceeding or from reporting the commission of any offense or the identity of any offender/s by means of bribery, misrepresentation, deceit, intimidation, force or threats;

(b) altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object, with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(c) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest prosecution and conviction;

(d) publicly using a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading prosecution or the execution of a judgment, or concealing his true name and other personal circumstances for the same purpose or purposes;

(e) delaying the prosecution of criminal cases by obstructing the service of process or court orders or disturbing proceedings in the fiscal’s offices, in Tanodbayan, or in the courts;

(f) making, presenting or using any record, document, paper or object with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(g) soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept any benefit in consideration of abstaining from, discounting, or impeding the prosecution of a criminal offender;

(h) threatening directly or indirectly another with the infliction of any wrong upon his person, honor or property or that of any immediate member or members of his family in order to prevent such person from appearing in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or imposing a condition, whether lawful or unlawful, in order to prevent a person from appearing in the investigation of or in official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(i) giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or to the court.

You'll know that Puno et al are dishing bovine ordure because even Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, through Cerge Remonde, has officially apologized to the media over the illegal warrant-less arrests, detention and manhandling.

If Puno et al think that they can intimidate media, they are only making themselves the subject of media coverage for acting like disciples of Herr Heinrich Himlerr, the Nazi enforcer.

Media should start fighting back by exposing mistresses, unexplained wealth and involvement in underworld operations like jueteng, illegal drugs and so forth. These thugs in PNP uniforms forget that the pen is mightier than the sword.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo