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PHILIPPINE MILITARY ESPIONAGE

Briones, Abril Geoffrey, Cabral, Daniel Marco, Go, Wilexander Louie, Ong, Rainier Siegfried S15 ajie_wing@yahoo.com, pong_pagong13@yahoo.com, wilexander@yahoo.com, ong.rain@gmail.com De La Salle University- IT Department
ABSTRACT This paper aims to find out in depth the issues and concerns in the military of the Philippines. Where exactly are the budgets that are allotted to the military going or being invested on by the department? Through this paper, a scandal like “Hello Garcia” is again tackled in line with the improper use of military resources and the powers behind it. Arguments are also presented to discuss the pros and cons of the advancements in the military. Issues like exploitations of the resources and misused of the technologies will also be discussed to support the cases being brought up in this paper. 1. INTRODUCTION Third world countries often are subjected to low standards, expectations and are underestimated by other powerful and progressive countries. This is true for any aspect with regards to the country especially Technology. In this matter, the Philippine Military is also dragged for the measure of an excellent service of an army is in what arsenal it posses and technology that aids it. However the state of our military in terms of technology though we are not competitive; it’s not that low as people may perceive. The military still have access and control over equipments and technology that are possible empowering tools. The alarming and surprising thing is the possibility and reality that these tools are improperly handled and utilized. When it is used for activities such as spying, illegal surveillance and information gathering which are invasive. The intention and usage for these technologies in the military’s possession becomes improper when its purpose to promote peace, ideals, safety and interest of the people is overlooked. 2. ISSUES 2.1 Ethical There are rights and protections any person is entitled to. Behind those rights principles, ideals and beliefs are present and considered by the State when deciding to provide the people with these protections. Among the foundational principles that binds the Philippine rights is that s the belief that the rights of the individual, wherever possible, must be preserved. It could be against any threatening outward force and even the authority of the state. However with the presence of technology and capability at the hands of the authority these provisions for the citizens are put to risk and possibly overshadowed. 2.1.1 Privacy Emanating from the principles of rights of an individual is an implied right to privacy. People have the right to keep their private lives away and separated from public knowledge. Privacy has a lot of meaning and the notion and extent of it varies from different cultures. Privacy has many types such as physical, informational and organizational. Each category covers and defines sets of standards and qualifications that are included [1]. Invading the privacy of an individual through any means such is punishable by the law. Subjecting the private life of a person and using it in any proceedings has a corresponding law apprehension [2]. In this day and age technology is fast developing and becoming highly available and the more powerful. Many private organizations and government institutions like the army have access and control over technology that are more sophisticated and powerful as they require. Even ordinary people who have the capacity to pay can possess state-of-the-art technology. It makes technological advancements prone to misuse directed to sensitive matters. Generally the increased ability to gather, send and intercept information has had negative implications for retaining privacy. With the presence and movement of sophisticated technology like large information systems, surveillance devices, communication devices and the internet to being common, the flow of information becomes the more uncontrollable [1]. Though there are laws that intend to protect the people from intrusion of privacy it does not secure and guarantee them of it. Most especially if the people who are to invade are equipped and geared with technological advancements. The people who

are subjected to their bidding may not be even aware of it transpiring. Technology in the hands of malicious and ill-intentioned individual or group of people may exploit it to illegally acquire and disseminate information which is totally against the law and infraction of their privacy and becomes a huge threat even for the country. 2.2 Political In the Philippines, Politics and the Military are closely tied up. Politicians make the laws or ordinance the military enforce and maintain it. It could be presupposed that this mutual relationship traces way back in the olden and colonial times. The connection transcends the fact that the military is at the disposal of the government. If politics is the head the military is the arm, they need and complement each other. 2.2.1 Agenda Throughout history Filipino citizens have bare witnessed on how the government and the military achieved great heights, overthrew monopoly and placed a new office. In the same way it has inscribed in our minds that they cover each other’s backs and clean up the mess. There are instances that conflicts arise between the two and leave the other side (often the military) at loss like in previous mutiny attempts. It is clear that the Government has the upper hand between the two though they are both powerful and capable. Influential officials are able to corrupt, dictate and exploit not the whole army but some vital and powerful agencies or offices to pursue their political interest. In the command and influence of this opportunistic and influential officials the military with its resources could become a “private army” and be exploited. They are able to operate and perform illegal acts of information gathering that is desired and will benefit the culprit. And since because of their tools and equipments and their uniforms they can do it unknowingly and with less suspicion and therefore attract less attention. With that and the fact that they are in power they lessen the chance of getting caught and be apprehended which is very dangerous for the nation as a whole. 2.2.2 Laws There are laws that are created to protect the people against possible threats with their lives. Laws are honoured and anyone that violates it will be punished. As much as possible laws are made clear so as to cover anything on the level of thinking and

reasoning of individuals. One of this is REPUBLIC ACT NO. 4200 also known as the Philippine AntiWiretapping Law. It stipulates that “The Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of the Privacy of Communication and for Other Purposes contains a notwithstanding clause that supersedes all inconsistent statutes. Section 1 states that all parties to a communication must give permission for a recorded wiretap or intercept and makes it illegal to knowingly possess any recording made in prohibition of this law, unless it is evidence for a trial, civil or criminal. Section 2 assesses liability for any person who contributes to the actions described in 1. Section 3 provides certain exceptions to the conditions found in §§ 1-2 but adopts stringent criteria for wiretap warrants, including the identity of the wiretap target; who may execute the warrant; reasonable grounds that a crime has been, is or will be committed; and, a reasonable belief that the evidence obtained via the wiretap will aid in a conviction or prevention of a crime. Further, predicate offences - or offences for which a court may authorize a wiretap - are limited to several particularly onerous severity. Section 4 states that any communication obtained in violation of this Act shall not be admissible as evidence in any court [3].” It may seem foolproof but a lot of people still find ways on how to work around and pull one out of it whenever they are faced with an obstruction of that law. One case is about the extended phone line which was construed as a tool for spying [4]. Another thing that makes these laws crumble is the fact that balancing and sometimes apparently contradicting this right to privacy is the need for security on a national and sometimes a local level or a greater cause [5]. Wherein there is no clear cut definition or arrangement when these exemptions and other instances could be applied or considered. Laws need to have a better framework that will strengthen, widen and make its intent, scope, power and command clearer for the safety and order of the people. Policymakers may also want to pass and provide laws or guidelines regarding utilization of agency resources during actual implementation. So as to provide a clear boundary about the extent of their capacity because when the issues go public it is a mess since the initiative and orders came internally people do not have a concrete idea or basis on what are the limitations since there are no concrete regulations. 2.3 Economic 2.3.1 Budget

The last three years, the military budget is increasing in just a small amount. Budget in 2006 is 52.4B, 2007 is 55B and 2008 is 56B [6]. We can see that the budget is there but it is only minimal for advancements in the technology since we all know investments in military technology would cost a lot. The budget allotted for the military in our country is used for recruitment of army, maintenance of the military equipments like ships and helicopters and for buying more ammunition. We should also take into consideration that our country still needs advancements in our equipments to increase the efficiency of our military capabilities. Increase in efficiency would result to faster solving of crimes, increase military intelligence to fight against terror and use to protect the welfare and rights of each Filipinos. 3. EVENTS/EVIDENCES/OCCURRENCE 3.1 Wiretapping Wiretapping is eavesdropping on private conversations by connecting listening equipments to a telephone line [7]. 3.1.1 Hello Garci Scandal It was June 6, 2005, a year after the 2004 elections where President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won and declared the president of the Philippines. It is also 6 months after the death of her closest competitor Fernando Poe Jr. On this day, a scandal broke out involving the president on her alleged involvement in the manipulating of the votes during the election. Through this scandal, it really rocked the unstable political situation of the Philippines because through this tape, we can hear the voice of the President asking from then electoral commissioner Virgilio Garcillano if she would get the desired votes. After days of denying that the president was the one in the tape, she then issued a sorry statement [8]. 3.1.2 Cory Aquino Wiretap Last May 3, 2007, Former President Cory Aquino revealed that a maintenance personnel of PLDT found a tape recorder with a power supply at a phone box near her home. This was used to tap her telephone lines. While the military acknowledged that they have the wiretapping capabilities, they denied tapping the former president. They said that they only use this for surveillance purposes and if it is ordered by court [9].

The issue here is not about the electoral fraud but with the way on how people got to wiretap the conversation of the president with the commissioner. The intelligence group of the military has the capabilities to do this and we can really see that there is misused of the technological capabilities. Even though it was for the betterment of the public because it allegedly caught the president first hand in manipulating the elections, we still cannot really say that the technology was properly used. If the president of the state or even key personalities of our society can be wiretapped by the military, what more the ordinary Filipinos? They are more vulnerable and anybody can be wiretapped as long as someone has the money to pay those who can to do it. There is always someone behind all these things. Sad to say, that someone has the money and resources to instruct people to do things so that they can gain the upper hand. Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (ISAFP) and the Armed Forces are mandated by the Constitution not to engage in political activities and to uphold the law. The wiretapping shows the disrespect and contempt of the military establishment towards the Senate as an institution of democracy. It also shows how the military establishment flaunts with the law of the land [10]. Misused of technological capabilities is a great crime because by doing this, they are using the resources of the country in a wrong way. They are not thinking of the welfare of the people but just to satisfy their own personal desires. There are more relevant issues that need to be address from, not just these political issues which our country is very profound of investigating. 4. ARGUMENTS 4.1 Positive Availability and possession of powerful technology at the disposal of an agency like the Philippine Military has its shares of good and beneficial effects. It empowers them and enables them to do their tasks of serving and protecting the people. In the same way we are assured of protection and immediate and timely help whenever the needs arise due to terrorism and catastrophes. The nation feels and enjoys a certain degree of safety and security against terroristic and criminal acts knowing that the agency that should take care of them is well equipped. Even the enemies are advancing in terms of their methods and tools that they used to conduct their illegal and

dangerous acts. That is why the military should be geared in order to be prepared to combat and encounter those enemies effectively and successfully. With the nature of technology of moving forward or advancing, it is an unavoidable circumstance or phenomenon. If we see that the military is able to purchase and acquire advance and new technology like communication devices, information systems and armaments that add and gives variety and power to their arsenal, we are assured that they are taking their duties and responsibilities seriously. They are doing the best they can and at the same time envisioning new methods or ways to combat the enemy and safeguard the forces. In terms of money or budget, the citizens are able to see concrete evidences of where the taxes are going. Of course, like any agency or government office, the Military also requires funding. They are allotted with and eat up a part of the whole budget which is necessary for them to sustain and perform their duties. Though we cannot assume that the entire sum of money is allocated properly to its intended use at least there are improvements. 4.2 Negative With great power and technology comes great responsibility. However this is a concept or idea that most of our Military men and Politicians fall short on. Though it is right that they have the “privilege and right” to own those gadgets and powerful technology to perform their duties there is no assurance that it is used for pure business. Increase prices or bigger budget allocation means more or increased power for the technology. As it becomes powerful it becomes more efficient but at the same time dangerous The presence of powerful technology also has its bad effects. Temptation to do untoward things is extremely high especially with access and control with high powered technologies. The pressure coming from people especially influential and rich ones makes it harder and difficult to be righteous. It makes the technology prone to exploitation and unlawful use. The use of technology is susceptible to be grabbed and be manipulated of those who are greedy and have their own political agenda and interests. This makes ordinary people be more vulnerable because the use of technology is not only limited to powerful people but it can also be used to ordinary citizens whom the higher authority wants to spy on. Because in our own setting, we can see that powerful

and famous politicians are not even excluded from the evil capabilities these technology brings. So how much more the ordinary people. As long as there are evil minds, technology will be vulnerable to be put to evil use. Laws are there to protect the rights of the citizens, but sometimes these laws have loopholes which seem to always favor the powerful people. They tend to always get away from justice and those who suffer are always those who are just ordinary and do not have much. 5. CONCLUSIONS The events that are cited in this paper are real situation that our country and some fellow people are involved with even high ranking officials. Wherein this events and incidents for all we know are still happening on a daily basis. The presence and availability of such powerful technology on the hands of ill-intentioned people proved to be dangerous and alarming as stated on some of the events. Moreover, it is to be considered that those highlighted in this paper are the controversial ones for all we know there are similar activities that have been done but went unnoticed. Aside from wiretapping and communications there are other means of conducting illegal information gathering and even espionage. This makes the possibility of this events or instances very true and occurring. The alarming and frightening thing is that ordinary citizens being vulnerable and possible victims of invasion of privacy. Anyone could be potentially subjected to this invasive act. Their human rights are violated and trashed without them (the possible victims) knowing it. They are no extraordinary individuals but taxpaying citizens including us. In which taxes are the ones used to buy and empower the army with this technology. In other words we are the ones, the citizens who empowered them but there is a great possibility that it is used against us. Nature of technology is progressive it can be helped. Whether we like it or not technology will become more powerful and time is the only thing standing between us and such great potential and power. Progression of technology is not bad. Technology itself is not bad but the intent and use of it makes it so and earns it awful labels and being corrupted. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS

The paper can be improved if there are more issues and facts relating to the topic. It will be more interesting if it had more substance to back up the claims and cases presented in this paper. It will also be better if the cases can be related to similar cases in our Southeast Asian neighbours. Thorough research by using books can also improve the quality of the work since the topics can be expounded more and there will be more ideas presented in the paper. Also, the other researchers can tackle additional issues regarding the misused of military resources to have better arguments and discussions in the paper. Other related information will greatly help improve the other studies. 7. REFERENCES [1]Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy “Privacy”.

[10] The Gale Group Inc. “Senators score ISAFP for alleged wiretapping”. http://www.articlearchives.com/internationalrelations/national-security-foreign/476814-1.html

 

[2] Bataysati. “bataysati: The Philippine AntiWiretapping Law”. http://batasayti.blogspot.com/2007/06/philippineanti-wiretapping-law.html [3]PHR2003. “Privacy and Human Rights 2003: Philippines”. http://www.privacyinternational.org/survey/phr2003/ countries/philippines.htm [4]Shvoong. “Anti-wiretapping law article abstract”. http://www.shvoong.com/law-and-politics/1659353anti-wiretapping-law/ [5]Encyclopedia. “Privacy:Legal and Ethical Issues”. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G23403300618.html [6] Gov.Ph. ”PGMA approves P1.227 trillion proposed budget for 2008: Philippines: Gov.Ph: News”. http://www.gov.ph/news/default.asp?i=18268 [7] Nolo. “Wiretappinglegal definition”. http://www.nolo.com/definition.cfm/Term/6597D764 -0245-42D1-A2850A504D49F01A/alpha/W/ [8] Dean Jorge Bocobo. “Philippine Commentary 2009 by Dean Jorge Bocobo: The Hello Garci Scandal”.http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/ 2006/06/hello-garci-scandal-year-later-mark-of.html [9] Inquirer.net. “Military denies hand in Aquino wiretapping”.http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/topstories/t opstories/view_article.php?article_id=63898