Loophole in sedition law was used to file raps vs Robredo – spox
MANILA, Philippines – There is apparently a reason why inciting to sedition was the specific charge used in the complaints against Vice President Leni Robredo and other members of the opposition.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said on Friday that provisions in the sedition law are vague, claiming that it is loosely based on the administration’s opinion if a person’s words would lead people to lose trust in the government.
“Unang-una, iyang inciting to sedition, isa iyan sa mga pinaka-malabong probisyon ng ating batas. Basically, kung may sinabi ka na hindi gusto ng gobyerno o nakakapanghina, supposedly, sa tiwala ng gobyerno, puwede ka na sampahan niyan,” Gutierrez, a lawyer by profession, told reporters in Quezon City.
“Noong panahon ng martial law, iyan ang ginagamit laban sa mga kritiko ng administrasyon. So, hindi nakakagulat na iyan ang gagawing sandata laban doon sa mga hindi nagugustuhan ng gobyerno,” he added.
According to Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code, a person commits inciting to sedition when he or she “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.”
Robredo, along with former senators, opposition senatorial candidates, church leaders and legal minds are facing sedition complaints filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last Thursday.
This was for their supposed role in the proliferation of “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, which accuse close relatives and allies of President Rodrigo Duterte of involvement in the drug trade.
Gutierrez also said that the sedition charges were used by the American government in the Philippines to hold known revolutionary Macario Sakay liable.
“Ang history niyan ay panahon noong mga Amerikano, noong hindi pa stable dito iyong Commonwealth government, iyan ang ginagamit nila para litisin iyong sina Macario Sakay. So talagang may pagka-vague iyan probisyon na iyan,” he claimed.
Still, he insists that the government needs to prove that Robredo and the others have done something that would lead to sedition, as testimonies from Peter Joemel Advincula — who claims to be Bikoy — are weak bases to establish this case.
“Pero sa dulo, kailangan pa rin nilang patunayan na may ginawa, eh, na may sinabi. At kahit balikan natin lahat ng mga sinabi at ginawa ni VP Leni mula noong 2016, wala kang makikitang kahit na isang bagay doon na puwede mong idikit sa sedisyon,” Guttierez said.
“Maski rito sa kuwento ni Mr. Advincula, sa aking pagkakaintindi, ang sinabi niya nagpunta sa meeting. Nakita niya sa meeting? Iyon na iyong batayan? Parang, ang labo, eh. Hindi na nga nangyari iyon, pero sabihin na nating nangyari, kung iyon lang ang ginawa, eh talagang mahinang-mahina ang kasong ito,” he added.
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