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LA SALLE, UP, and the other schools have spoken. What's OUR stand?

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  • Rafael Vicente Calinisan
    Dear all, I am both sad and happy after reading the papers today. Both my former schools, UP Diliman and La Salle (Green Hills) have already spoken... both
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 3 3:56 AM
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      Dear all,

      I am both sad and happy after reading the papers
      today. Both my former schools, UP Diliman and La
      Salle (Green Hills) have already spoken... both
      faculty and the students... they have taken a stand on
      the Gloria issue. RESIGNATION.

      Again, I do not wish to impose on you my stand, which
      is quite clear by the way (just look at the SC
      bulletin board). Nothing can be clearer. All I am
      asking is that we break our silence. MAKE YOUR OWN
      STAND. If we fail to do it collectively, then let's
      do it individually.

      If certain (influential) sectors in our law school
      community REFUSE to lend their voices on this issue,
      or if certain sectors in our community are in a
      STALEMATE as to what stand to take (for some reason or
      another), that is NOT REASON ENOUGH for us to be
      indifferent.

      We owe it to the NATION and to OURSELVES.

      The lessons in our books are important. But we should
      not let the lessons that life is teaching us now just
      slip away.

      I am apolgize if I sound as if I am indoctrinating. I
      just feel that we can do more.

      To national salvation.


      -Ralph










      LEGAL MEMORANDUM ON THE 'GLORIA-GATE TAPES'
      Prepared by Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares for
      The Committee for the Defense of Lawyers (CODAL)

      The Committee for the Defense of Lawyers (CODAL)
      conducted a legal study on whether or not President
      Gloria Arroyo committed illegal acts now that she has
      admitted that she is the person in the tapes talking
      with Comm. Virgilio Garcillano of the COMELEC. CODAL
      is a lawyers' organization campaigning against attacks
      on lawyers and other threats against the legal
      profession and civil liberties. It believes that the
      current issue on the 'tapes' is a legitimate concern
      for lawyers as it involves possible violation of the
      Constitution and threatens the administration of
      justice.

      This legal study is in response to the statements of
      Pres. Gloria Arroyo that her acts merely constitute an
      error of 'judgment' and that of many government
      officials who declare that despite the admission of
      President Arroyo, no crime was committed .

      Summary of the Study

      The CODAL study concluded that Pres. Gloria Macapagal
      Arroyo, contrary to her claim, may have committed
      crimes and offenses in violation of the Revised Penal
      Code, the Omnibus Election Code, the Anti-Graft and
      Corrupt Practices Act and the 1987 Constitution for
      the following acts:

      1. Despite knowing that she was the person in the
      tape, Pres. Arroyo ordered (or at least, allowed) Sec.
      Bunye to declare that the said 'tape' is a concoction
      of the opposition to destabilize the government—a very
      serious charge against members of the opposition. The
      use of one's public office (the Office of the
      President and the Press Secretary) for personal ends
      or interest (in this case to cover up her actions) and
      spread misinformation, is unlawful.

      2. Pres. Arroyo allowed, if not ordered, Sec. Bunye to
      present the 'genuine' CD containing her supposed
      conversation with Mr. Edgar Ruado in a Malacanang
      press conference on June 6, despite her knowledge that
      the said 'genuine' CD is completely false. Pres.
      Arroyo is aware that she had the conversation with a
      COMELEC official and not with Edgar Ruado. The use of
      the resources of a government office (such as the
      Office of the Press Secretary) to disseminate false
      information for the purpose of defending and covering
      up her personal (and illegal) acts is a criminal
      offense. This is violative of Section 1 (f) and (i) of
      PD 1829 on Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution
      of Criminal Offenders which provides makes illegal,
      the following:

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

      (i) Giving of false or fabricated information to
      mislead or prevent law enforcement agencies from
      apprehending the offender x x x"

      3. Her order or 'request' for Comm. Garcillano to
      'delay' the canvassing of Senatorial elections is in
      violation of various provisions of the Omnibus
      Election Code prohibiting the delay or disruption of
      election processes.

      4. Her implied 'request' for Comm. Garcillano to deny
      any petition filed by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon to open the
      election documents in Tawi-Tawi is an unlawful
      interference in the quasi-judicial function of a
      member of an independent constitutional body.

      5. Even if Pres. Arroyo will not admit to being privy
      to Comm. Garcillano's fraudulent acts, she still
      violated Art. 208 of the Revised Penal Code, among
      others, for her failure to file the necessary legal
      action for the impeachment and prosecution of Comm.
      Garcillano despite his open admission to the
      commission of the following crimes:

      a) Comm. Garcillano committed a crime when he informed
      Pres. Arroyo that he will 'hide' the Election Officer
      of Pagundaran 'para hindi maka testigo'.

      b) Comm Garcillano committed Electoral Fraud when
      informed her that 'ganito ang pagpataas ng iyong boto,
      eh malinis naman ang pagkagawa'.

      c) Comm. Garcillano committed electoral fraud when he
      told Pres. Arroyo that he will 'ensure' (pipilitin)
      that her votes will not go below one million.
      Considering that elections are over except the
      counting, there is no other way to ensure this except
      through manipulation of votes.

      6. Talking with her appointee, Comm. Garcillano, is a
      betrayal of public trust and violates the the
      Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for Undue
      Influence on a public official. Reappointing Comm.
      Garcillano to the COMELEC despite her knowledge of
      said electoral fraud can be used as proof of
      conspiracy to commit fraud. If Pres. Arroyo intended
      to officially communicate with the COMELEC, she should
      have corresponded with Chairman Abalos rather than her
      appointee. This also puts into question her
      persistence in appointing Comm. Garcillano to his post
      despite widespread opposition.

      DISCUSSION

      This Legal Memorandum will no longer go into whether
      Comm. Virgilio Garcillano committed illegal acts in
      his conversations with candidates and persons other
      than the President. If Comm. Garcillano is the person
      in the tape, his commission of illegal acts is clear
      from the transcripts of his conversations with various
      politicians in the tape: Comm. Garcillano manipulates
      votes in exchange for money, influences election
      officials to favor particular candidates, threatens to
      kidnap witnesses or their families and brazenly
      solicits money for election favors.

      This study will focus on the possible illegal acts
      committed by Pres. Arroyo not only in her dealings
      with Comm. Garcillano but on her acts in relation to
      the tapes.

      (a) Act to Delay the Canvassing GMA : Hello, hindi
      kaya puwedeng ma delay yung senatorial canvassing
      until after the voting on the rules tonight. Garcy :
      on the rules? Ahh, sige po…

      Delaying the canvassing is an election offense. The
      Omnibus Election Code provides that the canvassing
      should be continuous subject only to the availability
      of election documents. Secondly, influencing a
      supposedly independent official to rule in favor of
      delaying the canvassing is exercising undue influence
      (or intimidation), considering her position not only
      as President but also as the person with the
      appointing power over Garcillano.

      Laws Violated

      i. Under various provisions of the Omnibus Election
      Code such as Section 231, Canvassing should be
      continuous. Election rules strictly prohibit the
      disruption or delay of election processes. By asking,
      if not ordering, Comm. Garcillano to delay the
      canvassing, Pres. Arroyo is violating Section 231 of
      the Omnibus Election Code which mandates continuous
      canvassing, among many other provisions of the Code.

      ii. Pres. Arroyo violated Article 210 on Direct
      Bribery which punishes a public official and the
      person who induces him to 'perform an act which
      constitutes a crime, in connection with the
      performance of his official duties, in consideration
      of an offer, promise, gift xxx. The offer or promise
      in this case is the reappointment of Com. Garcillano
      to the Comelec if he is bypassed by the Commission on
      Appointments.

      iii. Pres. Arroyo also violates Section 3 (a) of RA
      3019 or the Anti Graft Law for 'persuading or
      influencing another public officer to perform an act
      constituting a violation of rules and regulation'
      promulgated by the Comelec.

      (b) Allowing Comm. Garcillano to 'ensure' (pipilitin)
      that her lead does not go below one million

      Garcy : OK mam, mas mataas siya pero , ma compensate
      po sa Lanao yan. GMA : So I will lead by more than 1 M
      overall ? Garcy : More or less, it's the advantage
      mam, parang ganun din ang lalabas GMA : It cannot be
      less than one M? Garcy : Pipilitin mam, natin yan. But
      as of the other day 982… GMA : Kaya nga eh Garcy : and
      then if we can get more in Lanao

      Pres. Arroyo is actually asking Comm. Garcillano to
      ensure that her lead does not go below one million.
      This is electoral fraud. Even if Pres. Arroyo will
      claim that she did not order the same, at the very
      least, Comm. Garcillano is informing her that he will
      increase (pipilitin) her lead by more than one
      million. As a public official it is unlawful for her
      not to report Comm. Garcillano's offense to the proper
      authorities and institute the necessary legal action.
      Since the election is over, there is no other way for
      Comm. Garcillano to increase the lead of Pres. Arroyo
      except to manipulate the results.

      Laws Violated:

      i. Since Pres. Arroyo is asking or at the very least
      acquiescing to the padding of her votes, she is liable
      for violating the Omnibus Election Code particularly
      Section 261 (j) on exercising Undue Influence on a
      public official and Section 261 (Z) (21) on violating
      the integrity of Election Returns and other election
      documents and other electoral fraud.1 She can be
      charged as a conspirator in the commission of an
      electoral fraud.

      ii. Even if Pres. Arroyo will not admit to being a
      conspirator in the offense, she is still guilty of
      abetting or tolerating the commission of a crime when
      she allowed Comm. Garcillano to commit an election
      offense without reporting the same to the Comelec. She
      is therefore liable under Art. 208 of the Revised
      Penal Code which provides for a penalty of prision
      correccional upon a public official who in dereliction
      of his duties, 'shall maliciously refrain from
      instituting prosecution or the punishment of violators
      of the law or shall tolerate the commission of
      offenses.'

      (c) Ordering or Influencing Comm. Garcillano not to
      allow the opening of election documents in Tawi tawi
      should Sen. Biazon petition for it.

      GMA : OO, oo, si Biazon nagbabanta, kung madaya daw
      siya pabubuksan niya ang ___ at sa Tawi-Tawi, eh baka
      raw ako ang matalo dun. Garcy : Baka nga ho.

      Pres. Arroyo is worried that the opening of election
      documents in Tawi-tawi will be detrimental to her
      personal interest. She was essentially ordering Comm.
      Garcillano to deny Sen. Rodolfo Biazon's petition (if
      he should file one) to reopen election documents in
      Tawi-Tawi. It is election offense for Pres. Arroyo to
      influence a Comelec official's decision in his
      official capacity. This is undue influence over an
      independent official who is supposed to exercise a
      quasi-judicial function once Biazon files his
      petition. Pres. Arroyo has the power to reappoint
      Comm. Garcillano to the Comelec if his confirmation is
      bypassed by the CA and therefore holds coercive
      influence over him.

      1 Should Comm. Garcillano claim that he is being
      coerced, Pres. Arroyo is still liable under Section
      261 (f) on Coercion of Election Officials, Section 261
      (g) on Coercion of Subordinates of the Omnibus
      Election Code.

      Laws Violated

      i. Influencing an official to decide one way or the
      other in a case to be filed or pending before him
      violates Section 261 of the Election Code (see above).

      ii. Her act also violates RA 6713 or the "Code of
      Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
      Employees" particularly Section 4 (C) which requires
      public officials to refrain from "committing acts
      contrary to law, morals, public policy and public
      interest".

      iii. It also violates Section 3 of RA 3019 or the anti
      graft law for 'persuading and influencing a public
      official' to commit an offense in connection with his
      official duty.

      iv. Pres. Arroyo is also criminally liable under Art.
      212 in relation to Art. 210 (Direct Bribery) of the
      Revised Penal Code.

      v. These acts also violates Art. VII, Sec. 17 of the
      Constitution which requires the President to 'ensure
      that all laws be faithfully executed'.

      (d) Failure to take proper action against Comm.
      Garcillano despite his admission that he will 'hide'
      the election officer of Pagundaran in order to preempt
      him from testifying

      GMA : Hello, dun daw sa Basilan at Lanao del Sur di
      daw nag match ang SOV sa COC Garcy : Ang sinabi niya,
      nawawala na naman ho GMA : Hindi na nag match Garcy :
      May posibilidad ho na hindi nag match kung di nila
      sinunod yung individual SOV ng munisipyo. Pero aywan
      ko lang ko lang ho kung pabor sa atin o hindi. Doon
      naman sa Basilan at Lanao del Sur ito ho yung ginawa
      nilang magpataas sa inyo, maayos naman ang paggawa eh.
      GMA : so nag mamatch? Garcy : Oho, sa Basilan, alam
      niyo naman ang military dun hindi masyadong marunong
      kasi silang gumawa eh. Katulad ho doon sa Sulu, si
      Gen. Habatan. Pero hindi naman ho, kinausap ko na yung
      chairman of the Board ng Sulu, yung sa akin. Pattaguin
      ko muna ang EO ng Pagundaran na para hindi sila maka
      testigo ho. X x x x x x x GMA : OO .. tapos nun, sa
      Calangunyan may teacher daw sila na nasa witness
      protection program. Garcy : sino ho? GMA : yung
      kabila, may teacher daw silang hawak Garcy : wala
      naman ho, baka nanakot lang sila. GMA : Calanguyan,
      Tawi
      tawi? Garcy : Calanguyan Tawi Tawi? Wala naman ho
      tayong kwan dun, wala naman ho tayong ginawa dun, sa
      calanguyan. In fact talo nga tayo dun, talo nga si Nur
      dun. GMA : oo, oo Garcy : Sige, aanuhin kong lahat ng
      yan.

      Firstly, the words of Comm. Garcillano is an open
      admission of an illegal act, notably: "Doon naman sa
      Basilan at Lanao del Sur ito ho yung ginawa nilang
      magpataas sa inyo, maayos naman ang paggawa eh". Comm.
      Garcillano informs Pres. Arroyo that something was
      done to 'increase' her votes, and that it was well
      done (and therefore she need not worry about SOVs
      matching with COCs). His use of the words 'atin'
      (while Pres. Arroyo uses the word 'kabila') shows his
      bias for a particular candidate.

      Secondly, Comm. Garcillano admitted to another
      electoral fraud when he said : "kinausap ko na yung
      chairman of the Board ng Sulu, yung sa akin. Pataguin
      ko muna ang EO ng Pagundaran para hindi sila maka
      testigo ho." A COMELEC official is not supposed to
      'hide' an election officer or any member of the
      electoral board to prevent said official from
      testifying. Garcillano even admitted to her that they
      did not cheat in Calanguya, that is why they lost:
      "Calanguyan Tawi-Tawi? Wala naman ho tayong kwan dun,
      wala naman ho tayong ginawa dun, sa Calanguyan. In
      fact talo nga tayo dun"

      He even implicated the military in helping in the
      cheating although they did not do it well: "Oho, sa
      Basilan, alam niyo naman ang military dun hindi
      masyadong marunong kasi silang gumawa eh."

      Comm. Garcillano's frank admission to Pres. Arroyo of
      the above frauds can be used as a strong and clear
      evidence that she is privy to the fraud. Garcillano
      will not inform her of the same, if he is not sure
      that she knows what he was talking about.

      However, even if Pres. Arroyo will claim to have no
      knowledge of the fraud, she is still guilty of
      tolerating or abetting the commission of a crime.
      Pres. Arroyo not only failed to take the necessary
      legal action against Comm. Garcillano despite such
      admission, but has even REAPPOINTED him to the
      Comelec!

      Laws Violated: This is the conversation where Pres.
      Arroyo may have committed many illegal acts and
      violated all laws mentioned above. These acts also
      violates Section 4 (b) in relation to Section 3 (e) of
      RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft Law.

      An additional offense is the violation of PD 1829
      Section 1 (a) provides that :

      "A penalty of prision correccional in its maximum
      period shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly
      and willfully obstructs, impedes or delays the
      apprehension of suspects and the investigation of
      criminal cases by x x x (a) preventing witnesses from
      reporting the commission of any offense x x x"

      Are these offenses impeachable offense ? Yes, these
      are impeachable offenses under the 1987 Constitution.

      If Pres. Arroyo committed the above crimes and offense
      she can be impeached for (i) culpable violation of the
      Constitution, (ii) bribery, (iii) graft and corruption
      and (iv) betrayal of public trust under Art. XI, Sec.
      2 of the Constitution. These constitute four of the
      six grounds for impeachment under the Constitution.



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    • Tricia Cervantes
      Hi Batchmates (and responding to Ralph s call) -- This is going to be a long email, but please indulge me. When this all broke out, I thought that while I
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 3 7:45 AM
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        Hi Batchmates (and responding to Ralph's call) --
         
        This is going to be a long email, but please indulge me.
         
        When this all broke out, I thought that while I value truth and justice and accountability, our country is an all too precarious situation, and that our current economic status hardly allows for any political upheaval. I was trying to figure out if the pursuit of more information on what actually happened and of legal action against GMA, if it is merited, will be worth risking more damage to our economy and to our political institutions...
         
        ...but as I was discussing these things with a friend, I was slapped with this -- "ang burgis mo naman mag-isip, takot ka kasi sa pagbabago." Then he went on to argue that it was not very long ago when the people thought with all certainty that when Estrada wronged our country, he cannot and should not stay. Matter of fact was, he did something wrong and for that, he had to face the consequences. It was so easy to call for his impeachment, and so easy for the youth to take to the streets. A few years later, we are faced with another alleged betrayal of trust -- why is there no urge to take to the streets or call for her resignation at the very least? Is it because the whole idea of EDSA has become nothing but a sad refrain, hackneyed and trite? Is it because we cannot afford such political upheaval at a time of economic instability -- but one would argue that during EDSA Dos, we weren't doing very well economically either. Why did it seem much easier to call for Estrada's resignation? Was Erap's crime much graver than what we face today? Or is it that, "burgis" that we are, we never saw Erap fit to rule because he didn't fit into our idea of what a president should be, whereas GMA, backed by her education and lineage, is more ideal...or acceptable, at the very least. Hence we took every opportunity to rid ourselves of him, whilst finding it tolerable to forgive her, or at least turn a blind eye to her alleged wrongdoing.
         
        Machiavelli, in The Prince and The Discourses, writes, "It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than an attempt to introduce innovations.  For the leader in the introduction of changes will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new."
         
        I don't mean to target the "elite" as I write all this. All I am saying is that maybe, we should try to think beyond what shelter our privileged lives can afford us. This never-ending coda of betrayal, and cheating, and corruption is frustrating and damn tiring -- but this is not the time to sit comfortably and watch those who are most oppressed in this situation fight it out themselves. The sickening refrain of deteriorating morals and values will never end if we don't do something now...why wait for the nation to be desensitized? Why wait for that point in time when in our hopelessness and despair, all attempts for reform would be futile?
         
        The thought of living in a nation where we can no longer take things at face value frightens me. It's difficult to support an administration the people feel they can no longer believe or trust. For how can we, if the ones on top are the first ones to contribute to the unraveling of our nation's moral fiber? A threat to our "commonwealth of values" is a threat to our democracy. If it is true that GMA had indeed cheated in the elections, she has lost her mandate and created a mockery of our democracy/sovereignty. If it is proven that she has indeed cheated and betrayed public trust, then she must go. We cannot tolerate actions like this that demean our morals as a people.
         
        I end with King Arthur's prayer in the movie "First Knight":
         
        May God grant us the wisdom to discover the right,
        the will to choose it,
        and the strength to make it endure.
         
        For the Filipino people.
         
        -Tricia Cervantes, Section E

        Rafael Vicente Calinisan <rafael_calinisan@...> wrote:
        Dear all,

        I am both sad and happy after reading the papers
        today.  Both my former schools, UP Diliman and La
        Salle (Green Hills) have already spoken... both
        faculty and the students... they have taken a stand on
        the Gloria issue.  RESIGNATION.

        Again, I do not wish to impose on you my stand, which
        is quite clear by the way (just look at the SC
        bulletin board).  Nothing can be clearer.  All I am
        asking is that we break our silence.  MAKE YOUR OWN
        STAND.  If we fail to do it collectively, then let's
        do it individually.

        If certain (influential) sectors in our law school
        community REFUSE to lend their voices on this issue,
        or if certain sectors in our community are in a
        STALEMATE as to what stand to take (for some reason or
        another), that is NOT REASON ENOUGH for us to be
        indifferent.

        We owe it to the NATION and to OURSELVES.

        The lessons in our books are important.  But we should
        not let the lessons that life is teaching us now just
        slip away.

        I am apolgize if I sound as if I am indoctrinating.  I
        just feel that we can do more.

        To national salvation.


        -Ralph


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