Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Senate condemns illegal acts under Proclamation 1017

News Release Refer: Lyn Eyana (0916-7068148)
February 27, 2006

Senate condemns illegal acts under Proclamation 1017

The alleged illegal acts and excesses committed by government forces
such as the warrantless arrest of political opponents of President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, including a member of the House of
Representatives, and the police takeover on the Daily Tribune
newspaper were condemned in a resolution introduced in the Senate
this afternoon.


In a resolution principally authored by Liberal Party leaders Senate
President Franklin Drilon, Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan,
Senators Mar Roxas, Rodolfo Biazon as well as independent Sen. Pia
Cayetano, the Senate condemned the "raid and exercise of control
over print media, the warrantless arrest of several citizens
including a member of the House of Representatives, and other
similar acts carried out by the government pursuant to Proclamation
No. 1017 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo."


Drilon said several other senators, including those from the
majority and the minority, have signified their intention to co-
sponsor the resolution.


"During these difficult and uncertain times, we must prevent the
weakening of our democratic institutions and protect civil liberties
as the cornerstone of our democracy," Drilon said.


The Senate President explained that as "the elected representatives
of the people, senators can not stand idle while overzealous
functionaries of President Arroyo trample upon the bill of rights of
our people under the guise of a real or an imagined national
emergency."


In the resolution, the senators claimed that "these acts carried out
by the government pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 on its face
contravene the fundamental guarantees of the Constitution
particularly the basic civil liberties enshrined therein and deserve
outright condemnation."


"Despite Malaca�ang's claim that Proclamation No. 1017 was a mere
statement of fact, alarming acts have been carried out pursuant to
said Proclamation, including: (1) all scheduled rallies, with or
without permit, were cancelled; (2) some protesters, including UP
Professor Randy David and Akbayan President Ronald Llamas, were
apprehended for inciting to sedition and violation of the Public
Assembly Act; (3) the National Telecommunications called a meeting
of the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas
(KBP) and discussed the possible revocation of franchise or take-
over of media companies that engage in biased reporting or
publication of matters affecting national security; (4) a 6:00 p.m.
curfew was imposed on the press corps of Malaca�ang; (5) one major
newspaper, The Daily Tribune, was raided and other major dailies
were placed under surveillance; and (6) Party-List Congressman
Crispin Beltran was arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued
during Martial law, while other lawmakers are under threat of
arrest; (7) attempted arrest of Bayan Muna partylist Representative
Satur Ocampo; (8) retired Police Major General Ramon Montano was
likewise arrested while other lawmakers and opposition leaders are
under threat of arrest," the resolution said.


The resolution noted that on February 24, "even before the issuance
of Proclamation No. 1017, officials of Malaca�ang categorically
declared on national television that an attempt to overthrow the
government has been successfully quelled and restrained."


The resolution cited that Article VI, Section 23 of the 1987
Constitution, "allows the Congress to authorize, by law, the
President to exercise certain powers during times of national
emergency, for a limited period and subject to restrictions set by
it."


"In accordance with Philippine constitutional practice and
precedents, the declaration of a state of national emergency does
not in any way suspend the Constitution and does not limit the civil
liberties, basic human rights, freedom of the press and other
fundamental rights enshrined therein," it added.


The resolution also noted that Congress, as a separate and
independent body, "has a constitutionally mandated duty to ensure
that the demarcation defining the powers of the three branches of
government are maintained and ensure, as part of the democratic
checks and balance, that the acts of any other branch do not
transgress.


The resolution noted that President Arroyo's declaration of a State
of National Emergency under Proclamation No. 1017 "was a statement
of fact and does not entail the President's exercise of additional
powers."


"Pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017, the President issued General
Order No. 5 calling "upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prevent and suppress
lawless violence in the country" and directing "the Chief of Staff
of the AFP and Chief of the PNP to prevent and suppress acts of
terrorism and lawless violence in the country," the resolution said.


"The directive issued under General Order No. 5 gives the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine national Police
(PNP) and the PNP unbridled and broad discretion to carry out the
supposed policy of Proclamation No. 1017, possibly opening boundless
opportunities for abuse and violation of fundamental human rights,"
the Senate resolution pointed out.
-o0o-

1 comment:

domingo said...

Gloria's PP 1017 (now lifted) reminds me of the Senate and the fall guy named Norberto Gonzalez.

--An executive officer over whom the President "shall have control of" (or the Executive Power of "Control"--and "Command"--as in EO 464)
--Ordered arrested, tried, convicted, and punished by the Senate, the institution authorized merely to inquire "in aid of legislation" but acting as the constitutional "investigator," the Ombudsman, and, simultaneously, as the Court, exercising, in short, "concentrated power"
--Publicly maligned, insulted, humiliated and subjected to "pitiless publicity and exposure"
--Arrested "warrantless" by persons not authorized to arrest and detain
--Being under (palace) "Protective Custody" was not an option made available to him, an Executive Officer
--Detained indefinitely (for well over a month, or over 720 hours)
--Sneered at for seeking medical attention for a serious health condition that incarceration without charges naturally magnifies
--Accusation proved his guilt, and his denial or refusal doubled it
--Deprived of his liberty without the benefit, the safeguards of due process of law
--Punished and attainted before he is guilty for fear that he should be guilty
--Willingly accepted and absorbed the punishment meted (without the expected theatrics and outbursts)
--A Filipino citizen, nonetheless, entitled (presumably) to the protection of the Republic

During all this litany of horrors the Senate inflicted openly upon a citizen of the Republic, the avowed champions of freedom and democracy among many in the media and the opposition simply looked the other way, eerily silent—-Gonzalez was their perceived "enemy"--condoning instead the humiliation, the deprivation the fall guy endured.

So, it's not just the Executive, after all, that's "unrestrained by the rule of law," but the Legislative as well.

So, why make a fuss over the "warrantless," the "arbitrary," the "dictatorial" repercussions under Gloria's PP 1017 now?

Should advocacy of a cause be selective?

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." --Thomas Paine