AFP questions limiting electronic surveillance in draft constitution
Some provisions on the proposed new constitution drafted by the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) of President Rodrigo Duterte is being opposed by the military in a presentation and consultation held in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. opposed a provision that limits the conduct of electronic surveillance, saying the constitution should not tackle “generalities” and “operational matters” that may limit their movements.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Bocobo, a Con-Com member, explained why surveillance warrant was proposed in the new constitution.
“Aside from the warrant of arrest or search warrant, there is now the so-called surveillance warrant. Now when this was discussed, in fact this was proposed by my colleague here, Rowan Libarios. You know to protect unnecessary unreasonable surveillance because of the technology now, anybody, anyone, any rich people or any can be surveilled by our security forces,” Bocobo said
“So this was inserted. This was thoroughly discussed, and I objected to it. This might limit the function and the job of our defense sector. So what we proposed here is the requirement of a surveillance warrant can be applied and can be served after the actual surveillance,” he added.
Galvez also opposed the removal of AFP’s mandate to protect the people.
“Maybe that provision of the constitution later on will create an intended consequence for us to have what we called, like when we file a case it may become technicalities, additional technicalities for us to pass,” Galvez said.
“We do not have problem considering that the military is very professional now. That’s why the provision that we are saying that the AFP is the protector of the people of the state...… For me that pride of being the protector of the people and the state that is what the communists wants to remove from us because that’s the best example that the military is the protector of the people and the state,” he added.
Bocobo explained that under the proposed new constitution the AFP is mandated to “secure the sovereignty of the republic and integrity of the national territory.”
“Still civilian authority remains at all times supreme over the military. These are the changes. What is in the (19)87 constitution is the AFP is the protector of the people. In the federal republic it was removed. This was used before by our mutineers and coup plotters. It is really the government that is the protector of the people. But the next sentence here, in the case, or its mention the mission of the Armed Forces is to secure the sovereignty of the republic and the integrity of the national territory,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS