A professor of law at the University of the Philippines said that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales should investigate the taped conversation allegedly involving President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). This, said Marvic Leonen in an interview with Bulatlat, is because Gonzales himself had admitted that there is such a conversation by saying that the contents of the tape were obtained by wiretapping.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
A professor of law at the University of the Philippines said that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales should be investigating the taped conversation allegedly involving President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) –said to be Virgilio Garcillano. This, said Marvic Leonen in an interview with Bulatlat over the weekend, is because Gonzales himself had admitted that there is such a conversation by saying that the contents of the tape were obtained by wiretapping.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye had released June 6 two CDs containing audio files of what he said was a taped conversation between the President and a political leader of the administration Lakas-CMD in Mindanao, southern Philippines. One of them, Bunye said, was a version purportedly altered by the opposition to make it appear that Macapagal-Arroyo had cheated in the 2004 presidential election.
Both “original” and “tampered” have portions in which a woman – said to be Macapagal-Arroyo – was asking a man (“Gary” in the “original” version, “Garci” in what Bunye called the tampered version) if she would still win by a million votes. Macapagal-Arroyo won by a million votes over her closest rival, Fernando Poe, Jr.
Days later, lawyer Alan Paguia, counsel for deposed President Joseph Estrada, would come out with a longer tape, and after a few days he would be followed by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent Samuel Ong who claimed to possess the “mother of all tapes.” Ong said his source was military intelligence agent T/Sgt. Vidal Doble, who denied this.
Gonzales had dismissed the content of the tapes as obtained from wiretapping.
The Anti-Wiretapping Law declares it unlawful for any person, “not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or dectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.”
In the case of the Malacañang tape, the contents were allegedly obtained by tapping mobile phone conversations. In an e-mail to Bulatlat, Dr. Giovanni Tapang, a physics professor at UP, explained how cellphone tapping is done: