Saturday, September 27, 2014

Detention-shopping skirmish continues in the Philippines

It's not over: a lawyers' group in the Philippines is seeking to have a retired Army major general returned to civilian custody by the court that ordered him transferred, purportedly for his own safety, to military custody. According to this account, the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers . . .
said under Section 1 of Republic Act 7055, “members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law, including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or offended parties, which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court…”
“Consistent with the narrowing of the scope and coverage of military law to those in active service, the general rule is that military law jurisdiction over officers, cadets, and others in the military service of the Philippines ceases on discharge or other separation from the service, and that jurisdiction as to an offense committed during the period of the service thus terminated is not reinstated by a reentry in the military service.
In this case, the motion [to retransfer] stated that kidnapping with serious illegal detention under the Revised Penal Code is not covered by the Articles of War nor is the accused subject to military law.
“Considered a civilian charged under civilian law, it cannot be made plainer that allowing accused [General Jovito] Palparan to stay in military detention is a treatment special if not extraordinary from that of others falling in the same classification,” the motion stated.
They added that the threat to Palparan’s life was also speculative considering that the defense has failed to present proof to substantiate the former general’s complaint.
“To support a choice of detention facility – as with any other decision in life – there must be validated, adequate, relevant, and objective data to invoke demons and ghosts from the past, real or imaginary to avoid the Spartan conditions, rigors and limitations of an ordinary civilian jail – and get away with it with impunity – is to thumb one’s nose against the justice system.”
“In light of the legal infirmities and the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing, the dangerous precedent Accused Palparan has set, and the lack of rational basis, it is our respectful submission that it behooves this Honorable Court to recall the military detention of Accused Palparan,” he added.

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