Mamasapano audio recording could be made public unless…
LIKE the “Hello Garci” scandal in 2004, the controversial audio recording supposedly between a ranking government official and a lawmaker talking about an alleged attempt to cover up the real story behind the Mamasapano incident could also be made public unless the people on the tape would object to it, Senator Francis Escudero said on Tuesday.
But Escudero said the persons in the said audio recording should first come out and admit that they were the ones on it before they could object.
“Ayon sa batas inadmissible yun pero bago malamang inadmissible, kailangang ma-establish muna na wiretapped nga ba yun at sino ba yung mga nandun. Baka kasi inimbento lamang yung tape at hindi naman talaga wiretapped,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“At kung wiretapped man yun, marapat mag-object yung mga personalidad o tao dun sa audio recording. Kung wala namang umaamin e sino ho ang magrereklamo at mag o-object? Tulad na lang yan ng Hello Garci tape na naging issue no’ng panahon ng dayaan ng 2004,” said the senator.
The “Hello Garci” scandal refers to the alleged phone conversation between then President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano supposedly talking about the vote count during the 2004 elections.
Escudero said the phone conversation was made public since both Arroyo and Garcillano refused to admit that they were the speakers on the tape.
“Hindi naman inaamin ni dating Pangulong Arroyo at ni Garci na boses nila yun so sino sila para mag object na pagtugtugin yun?” asked the senator.
Escudero said the only way to find out whether or not the new audio recording on the Mamasapano incident was unauthorized is to listen to it.
“Ano man ang laman nu’n marapat na ipalabas. Kung imbento man ’yon e di at least malaman na natin at kung totoo man. Lalo kasing itinatago, lalong nagiging interesado ang sambayanan at taumbayan sa nilalaman ng tape na ’yan,” he further said.
But Senate President Franklin Drilon reiterated that the alleged Mamasapano audio recording was covered by the provisions of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act and senators have to respect and abide by it.
“No one is above the law and even senators who craft the laws of the land are bound to respect and abide by them,” Drilon said in a statement.
“The Senate is not above the law. The senators should abide by the law. What I am saying is that the law is so clear and precise that it leaves no room for misinterpretation,” he said.
Drilon explained that Section 4 of RA 4200 clearly states that “any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.”
“The law explicitly includes legislative investigations as among the forum wherein illegally obtained communication and information cannot be used in evidence,” he said.
“The law makes no distinction and the basic principle in statutory construction is that where the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. The provision covers legislative investigations without any distinction as to whether it is open or executive session,” he further said.
Drilon clarified that he only brought up RA 4200 to enlighten his colleagues regarding the existing rules that govern the use of unauthorized recording in a public hearing “in order to guide the committee in deciding on the matter.”
“The laws are there to guide us and not to threaten us. As senators, we must commit to enforce the laws of the land. In a country where rules are hardly followed, we need leaders who respect laws and are ready to uphold and defend them without ifs and buts,” he said.
“As members of Congress, we must be the first to follow the law. We should send a strong message to the people that the laws we have crafted cannot in any way be bent, and that all should follow them,” the Senate leader added.
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