September 2, 2016

#KungAkoSiRody: Sen. Leila De Lima liable for “Inciting to Sedition”?

Duterte’s controversial War on Drugs has riled international opinion, thanks to the efforts of former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima.

On 31 August 2016, ultra-idealist United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, an influential voice in US Foreign Policy, tweeted:
“Alarming reports of ongoing extrajudicial killings in #Philippines; government must respect human r(igh)ts & rule of law [Power].”

Given sufficient backing from her peers, Power is not the kind of person who would think twice about urging the US to intervene in the Philippines.

Power, along with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and State Secretary Hillary Clinton, are the main culprits behind US President Barack Obama’s decision to invade Libya to oust long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

What happened to Libya after the invasion?

Timothy Carney of the [Washington Examiner] wrote in 2014:
“President Obama illegally invaded Libya, overthrew Moammar Gadhafi, and then – due to politics – left a power vacuum that terrorists filled, turning Libya into a hotbed of jihadist groups.”
Simply put:
“Gaddafi ruled over Libya and the US kicked him out. Today, instead of a dictator, Libya is now being ruled by terrorists.”
What’s the point? Power pictures Duterte as another Gaddafi.

What gave Power the idea?

Simply put, if Power gets her way, this will be the situation in 2022:
“Duterte ruled over the Philippines and the US kicked him out. Today, instead of what the US believes to be a dictator, the Philippines is now being ruled by drug cartels, terrorists, separatists, and the Grand ‘Ole Oligarchy.“
The Philippine opposition continuously failed, since 2009, to find evidence pinning vigilante killings on Duterte [TP: Ronnie Dayan]. This includes plus their failure to find the same in a recently concluded Senate investigation [TP: Destroy Duterte].

Despite this, the opposition has been drumming up international support over the past several months in its crusade to bring down the newly-installed populist anti-Oligarch President Rodrigo Duterte [TP: Oligarchy].

Members of the Philippine mainstream media can be largely credited for this increased international attention, as reporters of oligarch-owned or -controlled news outlets moonlight as wire reporters of international news agencies like AFP, AP, and Reuters. Foreign news outlets largely base their international news content on these wire reports.

A recent revelation, however, shows that Filipino wire reporters do not deserve all the credit for this international uproar: there’s someone else.

Enter Senator De Lima

Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and a founder of Human Rights Watch, has just written article ending with:
“One prominent Philippine political figure, Leila de Lima, a senator and former justice minister, is already calling on the ICC to take action... The fact that a popular head of state is trampling the rule of law in the Philippines makes a fast, decisive response all the more necessary [ProjSynd].”
No less than a founder of the Human Rights is calling for international action on the Philippines.
Yes, Neier is calling for foreign intervention, thanks largely to Senator Leila de Lima.

Just recently, De Lima spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, where she further hammered in, despite the lack of evidence [TP: President Leni], her allegations of Duterte’s complicity with the recent spate of extrajudicial killings [CNN].

The Liberal Party’s General Strategy

Duterte’s anti-corruption, anti-crime platform of government has ruffled, is ruffling, will ruffle a lot of feathers in the Liberal Party (LP), where Senator de Lima belongs.

It all started with Duterte’s anti-illegal mining policies that hit LP’s previously erstwhile invincible mining cronies [TP: Mining Cronies]. And now, with his massive war on drugs, Duterte – if not stopped – will cut off the alleged primary source of LP funding: the Drug Cartel [TP: Jesse Robredo].

Hence the viciousness of LP’s attacks, with de Lima serving as their attack dog (or attack pig).
But then, “Dog” is a masculine word and Rappler’s Prof. Sylvia Claudio is so particular about grammar [TP: Grammar Nazi], so let me oblige her by rewording the previous sentence.

Hence the viciousness of LP’s attacks, with de Lima serving as their attack BITCH.

Prof. Claudio, are you happy now?

De Lima and her friends in the Liberal Party failed to destroy Duterte’s campaign [TP: Tatang, TP: Jalosjos, TP: Scenarios]. They also failed to cheat him in the elections [TP: Smartmatic]. They also failed to impeach him [TP: Villar]. And so far, they have failed in rousing local public opinion over the EJK issue [TP: Gascon].

As you can probably see, the de Lima has run out of local options in as far as destroying Duterte, so she, along with former Liberal Party Director-General and Human Rights Chair Chito Gascon, decided to look elsewhere.

But there’s a problem in this phase of the LP strategy. A big, legal, problem.

The Limits of Free Speech

A senator is part of the legislature, which is co-equal in power with the Executive. Thus, while I do not agree with De Lima’s actions prior to the International Criminal Court issue, I respect her right to express her dissent and her right use every remedy afforded to her by the Constitution.

Being the accuser with the burden of proof, de Lima blatantly ignored the need to discount the possibility of false or planted evidence, and proceeded with her campaign at destroying the country’s international reputation. Despite her full knowledge that she has no valid evidence against Duterte so far, she still decided to cross international political boundaries just to make things happen for her and her cohorts.

A Filipino democracy is where power is vested in the Filipino people [Dictionary], and the Filipino people decided to value Free Speech, and that’s what de Lima purportedly exercises right now.

However, Free Speech “does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish without responsibility whatever one may choose." It is not "unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom [People vs Nabong]."

At this point, it’s clear that the Sovereign Will of the People favors Duterte. As a citizen and as a legislator, the best she is allowed to do is erode public opinion of Duterte and hope that things will go her way. She clearly realized that this won’t happen, that’s why she decided to seek foreign intervention, squarely circumventing the will of the real Philippine majority.
Inciting to Sedition

Let’s be clear about this: De Lima wants ICC to intervene and the only way ICC can intervene is by putting the Duterte government under trial.

[Article 139 of the Revised Penal Code] states:
“The crime of sedition is committed by persons (who)… prevent… any public officer… from freely exercising… his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order...”
Meanwhile, [Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code] states:
“Inciting to Sedition. - The penalty of prision correctional… 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… or other representations tending to the same end…”

What do these imply?

If a representative of the ICC somehow manages to put Duterte on trial, it’s obvious the ICC would prevent Duterte, the President, from exercising his constitutional functions. That would be sedition.

Now, who incites ICC to sedition? De Lima, through her nonstop speeches against the Duterte administration, alleging that Duterte sanctions extrajudicial killings despite the lack of evidence of such.

Yes, the Aguirre’s DoJ can actually sue de Lima for inciting to sedition, and eventually have her placed behind bars, just like what de Lima to then-Senators Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada. The de Lima-Amanpour interview was not made during a Senate Session, so she cannot invoke parliamentary immunity.

#KungAkoSiRody: Political Considerations

At this point, ThinkingPinoy is not arguing anymore about what’s morally right and what’s morally wrong. I am now putting on my political observer hat, put myself in the Duterte’ administration’s shoes, and evaluate my administration’s prospects.

That is, I will pretend to be Duterte starting now.

I, President Rodrigo Duterte, can actually sue de Lima for inciting to sedition, but the reality is that there are other political factors to consider [TP: Game of Thrones].

First: Political Ammunition for the Opposition

The opposition can use de Lima’s prospective detention as political ammunition, similar to how the Manila Times counter-attacked the Arroyo administration after the latter sued them for the same [CMFR].

At this point, de Lima’s popularity is in the gutter, so why would I lift her up from where she is?

Second: De Lima the “martyr"

Inciting to sedition will transform de Lima from a Senator into a political prisoner (i.e. a martyr), diverting attention from a more serious case – her alleged complicity with the drug trade – that would elicit far less international sympathy for her.

If I sue her right now, she can use the “victim card” and pretend to be the portlier version of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi. I do not want that.

Third: Supreme Court "cooperation"

Each Supreme Court Justice may have their own personal motives, but the fact remains that there is no real assurance that I will get a favorable verdict on the case. If I lose the case, this may become a political embarrassment that I may never recover from.

I can choose to file a case in 2019, when I have already appointed at least 10 justices into the High Court [TP: Supreme Court Math], so that will, at least slightly, tip the scales to my favor. However, 2019 is still far off, so it may be too late.

Proposed Course of Action

I, President Rodrigo Duterte, shall adopt the following plan:

First, stir controversy to buy a little time.

I will first stir controversy to make the public busy while I finish gathering evidence and preparing a case in connection with De Lima’s drug links. The driver-lover issue was enough to keep them busy for two weeks, the drug matrix two weeks, the works.

Second, file a drug-related case

A month should be enough to buy me enough time to file a case with Justice Secretary Aguirre’s help. If de Lima gets detained for drug-related offenses, there’s a fair chance that she will lose her international voice. I am pretty confident that this can keep her locked in for good.

The regional trial courts are unlikely dismiss such a complaint for lack of probable cause because of two reasons: (a) I am not de Lima so I will not file a flimsy case and (b) these RTC judges have ambitions of becoming a Supreme Court Justice, and it just so happens that there are at least 10 available SC slots during my term.

Third, let the case drag on.

This doesn’t require a lot of effort. Like every Filipino, I know it will take years before the drug-related de Lima case reaches the Supreme Court. And even if, by some miracle, the case does reach the court in four years, September 2020, where I would have appointed 10 justices in the Supreme Court, probably including the RTC judge who would convict de Lima.

Fourth, get insurance.

As an insurance against contingencies, I can file an “inciting to sedition” case to keep her behind bars. Yes, there’s no way de Lima can get out of this scot-free.

And you know what’s funny? I learned this strategy from them.

How? Because it’s the same thing they did to PGMA[TP:GMA Acquit].

The difference?

They didn’t win, but I will.[ThinkingPinoy]



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