Drilon on ‘Mamasapano cover-up’ audio: Unauthorized recording ‘unlawful’
Senate President Franklin Drilon issued a strong warning on Monday that the unauthorized recording of conversations and the possession of such unauthorized recordings, even senators listening to it, is “unlawful” and punishable by law.
Drilon was reacting to the alleged audio recording that retired police Chief Supt. Diosdado Valeroso has between a ranking government official and a lawmaker supposedly talking about an alleged attempt to cover up the real turn of events on the Mamasapano incident “to avoid its possible effect on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
“There was something that came out April of last year, I don’t know if this is the same thing, on an alleged conversation between Secretary Deles and Senator Bongbong Marcos that came out. Now is this the same audiovisual recording? I don’t know, but if it is maybe it is an old issue,” the Senate leader said at a press conference.
Deles is presidential adviser on peace process, while Marcos is the chair of the Senate committee on local government that tackled the proposed BBL.
“But let me just remind Valeroso that under Republic Act 4200, the unauthorized recording of conversations is unlawful, and may be punishable by 6 months to 1 year,” Drilon said.
“Not only the unauthorized recording, but also the possession of such an authorized recording is also unlawful. Not only possession, but also communicating these unauthorized recordings is also unlawful. And the evidence of such a conversation is also inadmissible as evidence under the Anti- Wiretapping Act, this is the Republic Act 4200,” he said.
A separate email sent to reporters by Drilon’s office, however, said that violation of the provisions of the law is punishable by “imprisonment for not less than six months or more than six years and with the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification from public office if the offender be a public official at the time of the commission of the offense, and, if the offender is an alien he shall be subject to deportation proceedings.”
But still, he said, it would be up to the committee investigating the Mamasapano incident whether or not to accept the said recording.
“I am just stating the law; lest they say again that we are suppressing the evidence, we are not. We are just stating the present law,” Drilon said.
“Now, if the committee chooses to disregard this, and play whatever that recording is, then that is a decision that the committee will have to make,” he added.
He pointed out that Section 4 of Republic Act 4200 provides that such a recording could not be admitted in any legislative investigation.
“But that is now up to the committee to decide, given all these legal restrictions, the illegality of the alleged tape recording,” Drilon added.
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