Saturday, May 13, 2006

Inciting to sedition

Second Opinion

Inciting to sedition
By Conrado I. Generoso
People's Journal, May 12, 2006

MY HEART goes out to Raul Gonzalez.

No, not the one who still uses sticky Three Flowers pomade on his hair that flies won't be able to extricate from it. No, not the blabbermouth Raul M. Gonzalez, justice secretary of de facto President Gloria Arroyo.

But to one who shares his name�save the middle initial�Raul S. Gonzalez, the former press secretary of Arroyo's father, Diosdado Macapagal, and our journalism mentor in The DAWN, the student newspaper of the University of the East that was at one time Asia's most widely circulated campus paper.

Every time Raul M. Gonzalez opens his mouth, I get asked this question: "Is the Raul Gonzalez you knew this brash, maladroit loose cannon who cannot seem to distinguish between being justice secretary and being Arroyo's attack dog�the epitome of tutang kahol ng kahol, all bark and no bite?"

And glad I am that the Raul Gonzalez I knew is not the Raul Gonzalez who, every time he talks to the media, utters something that leaves a bad taste in his mouth I wonder if he is not suffering from logorrhea.

One can already make a collection of Gonzalez's cracks since he has held the justice portfolio and call them "Looney Tunes" (apology to Warner Brothers, Speedy Gonzales, and the rest of the cast).

But you have to give it to the guy. He is not about to give up trying to show some wit, though he mostly ends up showing the opposite.

Like when last Monday he told the so-called Batasan Five�party-list representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino, Joel Virador, Liza Maza, and Rafael Mariano�to "go back to the mountains where they belong."

He might have as well shot himself in the mouth.

If I were among the Batasan Five, I would have immediately sued Gonzalez for inciting to sedition. (In fact, I wonder why his undersecretary has not arrested him yet.)

To tell someone, especially members of Congress who are critical of the Arroyo administration, to "to go to the mountains" is very clearly inciting to sedition, punishable under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code, which for the benefit of the justice secretary, reads:

Art. 142. Inciting to sedition. � The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Government of the Philippines, or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.

I do not exactly know the origin of the _expression "go to the mountains," but when I was young my grandmother used to tell me that both my grandfather and father went to the mountains to wage a resistance against the Japanese government. Namundok ang lolo at tatay mo," she would say.

To go to the mountains (mamundok) like the members of the old Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon and the New People's Army is to rebel against the established government.

Surely, Gonzalez didn't mean for the Batasan Five to go to the mountain to pray as Jesus and Muhammad did or to receive the Ten Commandments as Moses did.

He meant exactly for the Batasan Five to take up arms against the Arroyo administration. So it is as clear as daylight that he was egging them on to commit sedition and rebel against the government.

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