Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sun Tzu Advice No. 10: Time to use the "P" word.

Sun Tzu says, "If you are strong, you attack. If you are weak, you defend."

The President can still win the battle for public approval in this controversy about her wiretapped conversations. GMA should show everyone that this controversy is less about cheating in the elections, but more about private conversations being kept private.

It's time to argue the case for the "P" word. It's time to tell the State it went too far. Private time is private time. As in the case of an ordinary individual, whatever the President does on her private time is beyond the public domain. The right to privacy is a fundamental principle of the Filipino's social pact with the Philippine state. Violate the right to privacy, and the social pact is broken.

At first, everyone may disgree with the invocation of this right in this particular case. Yet, imagine for a moment, that Mrs. Arroyo is not the President. Take this case in isolation of the political reality. Is it really proper for the people to feast on her private cellphone conversations? Is it right for the State to meddle with anybody's phone calls without the proper procedures?Do we all have to explain to the Philippine State the meaning of our conversations?

The question of the day is not whether she is one of the voices on the tapes, but whether anyone has any business listening to the tapes. First things first. If the State will uphold the right to privacy of a sitting president, the most public of this country's private citizens, then the State will uphold the right to privacy of the rest. Is anybody arguing that the President has no right to privacy? It's preposterous. It's like saying she cannot close the door when she goes to the bathroom. The privacy she enjoys is the privacy we can all enjoy. How can anyone argue with that?

If people think that the "Hello Garci" ringtones are cool, then they missed the point. The joke is on them. Somebody has spooked the highest official in the land. What makes them think it cannot happen to them? Their darkest secrets will never be safe, and they will never be able to live with it. Senator Serge Osmena has been distributing copies of the wiretapped conversations of the President to challenge the Justice Secretary to sue. But Senator Serge should watch out, for what if he too has been spooked, and the tape is mixed with those he distributes? One of the voices in those tapes might turn out to be his. What dark secrets of the good senator would be revealed? Will we find out what really happened in his Eskapo story with the late Geny Lopez? The right to privacy that he is violating might as well be his.

While I still believe that waiving the benefits of the anti-wireapping law is necessary in order for the people to bring the crisis to the courts instead of the streets, I am also saying that the President should raise the issue of privacy to the bar of public opinion. She should appeal to their sense of decency. Decent people do not listen to private conversations, for at the end of the day, no one is perfect. Each has his dark little secret, and no one has the right to publicize someone else's dark secrets -- most definitely not without consent.

Ma'am this is your strongest argument: "The right to privacy has primacy." Sun Tzu says attack.

See Atty Punzi's accompanying blog lecture on the right to privacy here.

(revised post)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That stupid!!!

You should thank that we have the new technology on wiretapping these disgusted official of the land. If u don't hide anything u should not be afraid watever u say on the phone/cell even if its wiretapped or not. Don't play bobo on this...nasa media pa namn kayo! Halatang kakampi kayo ng malacanang!

Be fair and check the higher crime on teh said conversation of the Pres...be responsible in ur report.

Baka pati media ay d na paniniwalaan yan! think about it!

U should lead the peopleto seek the truth...before its too late!

Who knows kayo pa ang maiging popular kung pangungunahan nyo ang pag himok sa mga tao na mag revolt! nasa likod nyo kaming mga kabataan!!!
Seek the truth and the truth will set us free...

Anonymous said...

That stupid!!!

You should thank that we have the new technology on wiretapping these disgusted official of the land. If u don't hide anything u should not be afraid watever u say on the phone/cell even if its wiretapped or not. Don't play bobo on this...nasa media pa namn kayo! Halatang kakampi kayo ng malacanang!

Be fair and check the higher crime on teh said conversation of the Pres...be responsible in ur report.

Baka pati media ay d na paniniwalaan yan! think about it!

U should lead the peopleto seek the truth...before its too late!

Who knows kayo pa ang maiging popular kung pangungunahan nyo ang pag himok sa mga tao na mag revolt! nasa likod nyo kaming mga kabataan!!!
Seek the truth and the truth will set us free...

marvin said...

Peace man. If Sun Tzu were alive, he would have argued that following your logic it is okay to wiretap your calls and put a camera on your bathroom. The matter is more complicated than what most people think. But that's Sun Tzu for you.

Sassy Lawyer said...

Isn't it funny how people have sidetrackked the issue that her rights have been violated too? Isn't it even funnier that this whole issue has become another political circus? JPE is alive once again and getting interviewed. Ping Lacson never misses the chance to show his best angle during interviews and has become so adept at misinterpreting the plain words of Arroyo's I am sorry speech. Plain meaning na nga, iba pa rin intindi nya. Hay, naku...

florence said...

all i can say is this: as chief executive officer of the land, one must display honesty and justice in one's public AND private life. violation of one's right to privacy IS NOT the main issue here. she compromised the highest expression of the right to suffrage in a democracy and that should NOT be tolerated. THAT IS THE ISSUE!!!