smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Red Cross

redcross

Advertisements

Filed under: crime, international, law and order, news, ,

Raped at 12

From a a girl pregnant at eleven, we now have a girl raped at twelve. WTF is going on in the world?

The girl claimed she was raped in the mornings of June 16, June 17, Nov. 25, and Dec. 18 and in the afternoon of Dec. 28. The last incident happened on Jan. 5 when the teacher even allegedly said “Isa pa mamaya huh (Let’s do it again later).”

Almost makes you long for the good old days when criminals could still be drawn and quartered, don’t it?

Actually … news like this makes me think that maybe I should seriously consider homeschooling my future spawn.

In the nearer term, this sort of shit makes me wish that instead of bland and platitude-spouting politicians tooting their own horn, we had real choices with real platforms, especially platforms for improving the public education system and improving protection for children against known – or potential – sex offenders.

Now obviously, this particular predator isn’t the first – and sure as hell not the last – but I’ve got to wonder how these types get to be given the opportunity to be with kids at all.

Filed under: education, law and order, sex, society, , , ,

Libel Blog

Can a blogger really be sued for libel over stuff written on her blog?

Even a cursory review of the law clearly indicates that the answer should be yes. In fact, I think the Warrior Lawyer would agree.

In this particular instance, i.e., Bambee’s post about the Valley Golf incident, I think this bit of jurisprudence might be of help.

In order to constitute malice, ill will must be personal. So if the ill will is engendered by one’s sense of justice or other legitimate or plausible motive, such feeling negatives actual malice. [Aquino, Ramon C., The Revised Penal Code, Vol. III, Bk. II, 1997 Ed., citing People v. de los Reyes, Jr., 47 OG 3569]

The post was written immediately after the incident, and it was clearly written by one who felt aggrieved and desirous of justice. So, I imagine she’ll be okay. 

But where does that leave the rest of us?

The Warrior Lawyer says:

If you call someone a scum-sucking, slimeball, swindling pimp, even if this is fairly accurate, and post it online, you may be sued for making libelous statements.

What about calling Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and various other people – politicians or not – MORONS, as I have been wont to do? Am I likely to be in trouble? HAHAHA! 

Hell no.  As far as I know, I haven’t yet called anyone a pimp – oh, wait. I have.

Hold up … mom screaming from the gate …

What is it ma?? A process server? Wait wait … tell ‘im you don’t – 

Oh crap.

SO there’s a process server at the door. GTG.

Filed under: humor, law and order, vacuity, , , ,

Irony

The PDI editorial says:

Or take the case of Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor. He took a call from the family of Richard Brodett, who was facing an investigation for drug dealing. He took it because he knew the parents of Brodett. He took it upon himself to inquire as to the status of the case, when “inquiries” by officials have become notorious as instances of influence peddling (“Will I still win by one million?” comes to mind). Blancaflor, by all accounts, is widely respected. He may have acted on the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. But these are times when deviating from official procedures by resorting to the gray areas, in which officialdom often tries to find ways to humanize the inexorable harshness of the law, has become increasingly impermissible.

The public has an increasing intolerance for such cases of official consideration because it has come to expect a more impersonal, and thus, equitable, approach to the justice process. We all know our institutions are understaffed and overworked. What we expect is the democracy of the queue and of not jumping the line merely on some official’s (well-intentioned or not) say-so.

First off, anyone – PDI editors included for sure – who has ever had any reason to deal with government above a certain level has called on a well-placed acquaintance to – at the very least – ‘follow up’ on his interests. And anyone who knows anything about this sort of shit should know that members of the media rank among the worst followers up. They throw their weight around for this friend or that relative and badger government officials to exert whatever influence they can to secure a positive outcome. And it doesn’t have to be blatant either. It can be as subtle as saying “I don’t care what the outcome is, as long as everything is done fairly and transparently and the truth comes out.” The problem with that, of course, is that people who say shit like that have often decided what the “truth” ought to be.

And because they have microphones bigger than their dicks, they come on strong – their words laced with the implicit threat of negative publicity in case they are rebuffed. So it smacks of irony that PDI should be taking this tone now: since they seem to acknowledge that even ‘inquiries’ are impermissible, why do they keep doing it? Why keep  on egging or even badgering government officials to do them ‘favors’ when those favors are the exact same things they then turn around and condemn?

And to add to the irony, the editorial attempts to paint the public as some morally outraged group that demands the democracy of the queue. HAH! What a load of bullcrap.

Your average Filipino cares nothing for the democracy of the queue if a means exists to shorten the wait. It’s when we see other people getting a jump on us that we complain. And no one is immune. It’s like that thing they say about money being the root of all evil: the only people who say that are those who don’t have money.  

Oh sure, there are those who make valiant attempts to stay in line but given the opportunity – and the probability of doing it with impunity – how many of those won’t take advantage? And how many of people of stature will stay away from situations where even their mere presence will influence the fate of the queue? 

Once I was talking to this very high-profile private lawyer – a public intellectual he was – who bitched endlessly about traffic. He ends his rant by saying: ‘when I get caught, I roll down my window and give the cop a chance to recognize me!’ HAH! I’ve wished often enough that my face could be just as effective a passport out of inconvenience. But since it isn’t, I rant and rave – however privately – about the injustice of it all.

A modern, democratic society substitutes official discretion and similar gray areas, for a fussy, often slow, and tedious devotion to doing everything by the book. Blancaflor is simply the latest example of the adjustments officials — and not just the public — have to endure, if we are to eliminate the more flexible but highly corruptible present for a more orderly and fair future.

Eliminate the highly flexible but more corruptible present? Might the PDI be talking about the endless calls for an extra-constitutional end to the Arroyo presidency? Might it be referring to how the media and the senate relentlessly pillory those that have the temerity to disagree with them? Or could it be referring to glorification of putschists like Trillanes who toss out the law to have tea-time at Oakwood, and then again at the Pen? 

The only difference between those examples and what’s going on with Blancaflor and those drugpushers is that with Blancaflor, it looks like the extra-legal route is going to benefit the perceived bad guys. But hell, if those drugpushers had been savvy enough to gain the sympathy of the public – maybe they should’ve told their friends to blog about what nice boys they actually are – no one would be raising so much as a squeak now. HAH! So much for the wisdom of the mob.

In a perverse way, the editorial might actually be read as a lamentation on the fate of Blancaflor, but the PDI’s predisposition to pander to the righteous outrage of a public that feels it’s been one upped – and it’s track record of throwing its weight behind moves to undermine the rule of law in favor of swifter and seemingly poetic justice – tarnishes what might’ve been a refreshingly honest piece. 

Because it is true that even honest and upstanding government officials do try to accomodate requests as best they can without crossing over the line into impropriety; and it is true that our culture places extreme pressures on each of us to bend over backwards for people who invoke friendship, blood, and mercy; and because it is true that a strict democracy of the queue would be a wonderful thing.

But because the PDI couldn’t resist taking the pulpit with it’s holier-than-thou shtick, it missed the opportunity to rise above the fray – demonstrating only that, like the rest of us, that mighty newspaper is just as prone to castigating people for doing as we do, instead of as we say.

Filed under: journalism, law and order, news, society, , , ,

Crazy taxi driver

In Australia, an insane man can drive a cab.

A criminally insane man convicted of killing his wife should be allowed drive a taxi, a court has ruled.

The man killed his wife, but escaped a murder conviction on the grounds of insanity.

Australia’s Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal says he should be allowed to drive taxis, local media reported.

Crazy, eh? Or oxymoronic.

Apparently, insanity wasn’t one of the grounds for stripping a cab driver of his license. And so the court did it’s job: it looked at the circumstances of the case, looked at the law, determined that the interaction of the two – the circumstances and the law – gave rise to a certain result, and made the appropriate ruling despite the absurdity of the outcome.

The absurdity was then left to the rule-making authority – who made the rules that allowed the absurdity to occur in the first place – to solve. Thus:

But, the state’s public transport minister, Lynne Kosky, says the law will be changed to stop people with similar backgrounds getting taxi licences.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “The assurance that I can give to the public is that we will ensure that out taxi industry is safe, we will take all measures and we’re doing that to make sure that our taxi industry is safe, we’ve currently got audits in place, and we will take every step possible to appeal this decision.”

Now if this case had taken place in the Philippines …

The Supreme Court would have looked at the circumstances of the case, looked at the law, determined that the interaction of the two – the circumstances and the law – gave rise to a certain result, would have gotten outraged at the outcome, issued a temporary restraining order against the LTFRB, and let the case simmer for awhile. In the meantime, the media would have gotten hold of the story from a press-con of the Chief Justice, the Senate would call for an investigation, the LTFRB secretary would be summoned and forced to admit that GMA personally approved of the rules that allowed the questionable outcome, and Harry Roque would have prepared a new impeachment complaint (just in case GMA survived til after 2010) accusing the Prez of betraying public trust by letting crazies drive cabs. When things are nicely boiling, the SC would then issue a ruling that would effectively change the operation of the existing rules. 

Talk about having a dysfunctional system.

Filed under: humor, law and order, , ,

Can it happen here?

The Warrior Lawyer gives an excellent overview of the burning of Mumbai and posts the question:

Can it happen in Manila ?

Funny thing that, because just this morning, one of the people here in the office offered up the opinion that such a thing could never happen in Manila. The Warrior Lawyer believes otherwise, but sees the Mumbai attacks as a model for other terrorists to follow; a perverse kind of best practices thing.

And this may serve as a template for other terrorist attacks in other areas of the world, wherein a relatively small number of determined killers, estimated at a mere two dozen, could hold an entire country hostage. Our anti-terrorism forces, such as they are, should consider this as a wake-up call.

I guess Sonny Trillanes has pretty much mooted the question. Admittedly, he took over the Oakwood and the Manila Pen with a largely benign game-plan, but the fundamentals of a sudden attack, a protracted seige, and a bloody end-game were all in place. If he had wanted to turn malignant, he could have easily managed it. 

So it can be done. That shouldn’t be a question anymore. The thing to ask now is who – in the Philippines – would be able to do such a thing? And the answer to that is prolly gonna keep me up nights.

Who can do it? Practically anyone.

The most suited, of course, would be the military. Rogue elements – like Trillanes was – have access to everything they need to make it work: guns, ammo, explosives, vehicles, and warm bodies. The trick is not to expose themselves as rogues prematurely. Oh and – this is where Trillanes screwed up – not to do the deed with a political goal in mind. 

Political goals muddle operations effectivity. There should be a desire to win, above all else, regardless of the cost, without regard for tomorrow. Let politics – and considerations of whether you will be received as a hero or as a murderer when the dust settles – enervates the attack and leaves it vulnerable to defusing. 

After the military, the best suited would be radicals. Based on what limited knowledge I get as a fly on the wall, I would say that Islamic radicals have the upper hand on ideological radicals in this arena. Islamic radicals, it is said in official circles, have not cut off logistic support to their various cells scattered throughout the country despite the continuing engagements in Mindanao. In theory, therefore, when the call comes through, these groups can mobilize with significant rapidity – certainly enough to overwhelm our complacent, under-equipped, and under-manned police force.

After the military, after the radicals, who else can do this sort of thing? Practically anyone – although prolly not on a similar scale, much lesswith the same kind of coordination. But just think of all the crazies that have given our newspapers and politicians hard-ons over the years, and you’ll see what I mean. Remember that loon with the bus? Or the motorcycle bomb at the House of Representatives? Or the various bus bombs in the south?

The thing is, whoever gets it into his head that terrorism is the thing to do doesn’t only have the advantage of surprise, he can also capitalize on our society’s strident distrust for the government and its instrumentalities – particularly those instrumentalities that pack heat and have the ability  to pry into our private lives. 

Obviously, the distrust is well-earned, but even assuming that it isn’t – taking for the sake of argument that we can trust the government – a major part of our society would be up in arms the minute we see more uniformed men on the streets or we feel that we are being inconvenienced by new procedures that objectively help diminish the possibility of a surprise attack.

The goal of most human societies is to live in peace, and for the most part, we have been pretty successful. Unfortunately, we have also become the victims of our own success. In moving towards peaceful co-existence as a paradigm for human society, we have also practically bred out tolerance for the dirty work that is needed to keep the surface of things placid. We hold the peace in high esteem, but we honor our peacekeepers only when they appear genteel and polished. But when we are forced to confront them while they are doing their job – with their dirty faces and bloody hands – we shiver in disgust and we call them animals. It’s kinda like those old houses where you enjoy the food you are served until you see the dirty kitchen where the food was prepared. 

taj_230Mumbai, far from being a wake-up call to just our anti-terrorist forces, should be a wake up call to US as well. We should never forget that these things can happen, and that there are people out there who hate our way of life so much that they will suffer their own death simply to ensure that they take us to ours. Along with that acknowledgement, there must also be the willingness to give those who we expect to protect us the benefit of the doubt that they are doing everything necessary to do their job right.

Filed under: international, law and order, society, , , ,

Due Execution

Something Satur Ocampo is reported to have said caught my eye.

After the hearing which ended at 2:45 p.m., Ocampo explained the discrepancy in the dates.

Ocampo said October 11 was used as the date of execution because it was the date of filing.

“It’s not a clerical error, it was in fact intentional. We dated it October 11 kasi iyon ang day ng [that is the day of the] filing pero nung panahon na ipanumpa nila sa abugado nandun na ang document [but at that time that they swore before the lawyer, the document had been drafted], so hindi na question kung magko-conflict ang [there is longer no question of conflicting] dates,” he said.

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose the date of the notary prolly doesn’t amount to much. But when a document is notarized, doesn’t the person seeking notarization swear to or affirm the truth of the information contained in the document, under penalty of perjury? So, if you knew that the date was wrong, doesn’t that amount to perjury?

Why would Satur Ocampo say such a thing?

Filed under: law and order, politics, , ,

The Out of town Killers

With the arrest and possible extradition of Ping Lacson’s flunkies – Cesar Mancao II and Glenn Dumlao – we might be coming closer to finally closing the book on Bubby Dacer’s and Emmanuel Corbito’s murders. ‘Course, the Lacson connection will be the subject of much discussion – or at least I hope so.

Y’see, people who find it difficult to believe that Bolante acted without the President’s knowledge (including me), will have to accept that it is equally difficult to accept that Lacson’s hands are pristine in the killing executions of Dacer and Corbito.

The logic in the case of Bolante is that the expenditure of 700+ million pesos is so out of the ordinary that the President could not have possibly been NOT interested; well, liquidating two people – one of them very highly placed – could not have been such a run-of-the-mill event either that the Chief of the PAOCTF would not have been at least consulted. And besides, if the President is presumed guilty to some degree because she is a known micro-manager, what does that make Ping Lacson?

In any case, the first switch has been thrown. I, for one, will be very interested to see how this Rube Goldberg contraption we call the Philippine justice system will run with the case. And, naturally, I’ve started taking bets on when Ping Lacson will start wailing “POLITICAL PERSECUTION!”

Filed under: 2010 watch, law and order, politics, society, , , , ,

When do you know if someone is lying?

Prowling through the OpEd section of the PDI, I came across this gem from Neal Cruz:

The senators called Joc-Joc’s testimony “unbelievable,” but they could not prosecute him for perjury because our laws require proof beyond reasonable doubt. Yet common sense proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the two witnesses were not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

He then goes on to whine:

What am I saying? I am saying we should strengthen our laws against perjury, make it difficult to lie and make it easier to prosecute and convict liars.

o_rly

Seriously. While I also believe that Bolante lied, the real problem is not that “our laws require proof beyond reasonable doubt,” it’s that our Senators – and apparently our esteemed OpEd writers as well – put too much stock in common sense that they forget this is still a civil law country. They end up sounding like street-corner philosophers who hang around barangay halls where they are revered as ersatz lawyers. 

Now if they had gone into that session prepared, rather than pre-occupied with milking what they thought was an open-and-shut case for all the media mileage it promised, then Bolante would not have been able to deliver such a decisive smack-down. I mean, don’t these guys get millions in discretionary funds? Couldn’t they have used that money to dig up some real evidence? Or maybe they should have just outsourced the formulation of their lists of questions to bloggers who, for a pittance, are able to come up with more sense.

And how, pray tell, are we supposed to ‘make it difficult to lie?’ More to the point, when is it obvious that someone is lying? When everything he says goes against his interrogators’ preconceived notions? That’s what the laws are there for, Neal, to make sure that people are protected from jaundiced judges like yerself; people who think that because they know some things then they must know all things. Puh-leeze.

Filed under: law and order, , , , ,

Do we forgive?

The release of Claudio Teehankee Jr. certainly kicked up a shit-storm, dint it? Now, whether it was clemency or his sentence ran out, I think the reaction would not have been different. In the end, it’s not how he got released that really matters. What matters is that he got out of the hole that we put him in so that society could forget about him; he got out of the oubliette.

Parenthetically, the same reaction rippled through genteel society when the Ilaga Manero went free.

Y’see, that’s what a prison is, in the gospel according to Rom: a place where a loathsome person is placed so that the rest of the people can forget what they know they can be. Wiesel (I think) wrote about the banality of evil. Teehankee – with his droopy eyes – is proof of that. Beneath that placid exterior, Teehankee was obviously capable of explosive evil. In that, he is not too different from most of us. That’s what makes him so repulsive. And that’s the raw nerve his release touched. 

And that’s why the death penalty is necessary. We don’t forgive. We try to forget, but as soon as we are reminded of these criminals, we are just as angry as we used to be. Wouldn’t it be better then, to just speed them on their way off this mortal coil? That would help to forget the bad man, and it would be more economical too, not to put too fine a point on it.

Paradoxically, our inability to forgive is also a very good justification for the abolition of the death penalty. In many cases, it is infinitely more satisfying to forget him with the knowledge that the bad man is suffering in prison than to know for a fact that he is dead and, therefore, beyond our hatred. Hence the outrage at Teehankee’s release and the recentlypublished photos of his prison cell. We feel that he never suffered in the first place, and now he’s free, presumably with access to his family’s money and the good life that money can bring. It rubs our sense of poetic justice all wrong. 

The way to get these two ideas together, I suppose, would be to remove the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and inhuman punishments. I mean, think about it. We kill the bad guy so that we never have to forgive him (and all the usual arguments like, ‘so he can’t do it again’); and we do it with the utmost pain possible so as to satisfy our wish for him to suffer. And never mind the bad guy’s rights. I mean, he lost his right to be treated humanely when he showed himself less than human, didn’t he?

Instead of the relatively quick and painless death by lethal injection then, how about …

  • Death by firing squad, where the firing squad doesn’t shoot all at once. The guy’ll prolly be shiting his pants wondering whether the next shot will be the one that kills him; 
  • Multi-day execution where you do the firing squad russian roulette thing, but make sure that on day one, there will be no real kill; and
  • Death by ant-bite. Yeesh. That’d be something. This one I’d reserve for child rapists.

Under this theory, I imagine Teehankee could be executed by ant-bite. I’d have said death by starving pigs, but that’d be so Hannibal Lecter.

Filed under: crime, law and order, society, , , , ,