Commentary

On Francis Rafael

With all due respect to the public prosecutor who would handle the case, I don’t think what Francis Rafael did would fall under any of the crimes defined under Article 153 of the Revised Penal Code, or of any law.

It could not fall under the first paragraph, because the act was not serious enough. In fact, Duterte continued speaking. Thus, there was really no disturbance to speak of, from the viewpoint of the law. The intent of Article 153 is to maintain public order – but public order was maintained, as shown by the facts that (1) Duterte continued speaking; and (2) Mr. Rafael was immediately subdued. Additionally, it seems that the act was a spontaneous act, brought about by Mr. Rafael’s emotions, as can be seen by the fact that he was holding a mere short bondpaper as his “placard”. If it was really planned or intended (which is necessary in prosecutions under the first paragraph of Article 153), he should have prepared a bigger placard containing his message.

The act would not also fall under either the first or the second prohibited act under the fourth paragraph of Article 153. The outcry was not meant to incite rebellion or sedition (i.e. achieve any of the ends of rebellion or sedition); he was just stating an obvious fact: that Duterte is a coward in bowing to China. The placard, if you could call that short bondpaper as one, also did not provoke a disturbance of the public order (see argument above). It should be noted that the second prohibited act of the fourth paragraph is not that the accused displayed placards TENDING TO PROVOKE disturbance of the public order, but placards PROVOKING disturbance of the public order were displayed.

In short, the State would be wasting precious resources in prosecuting this guy. Simply put, he did not just do enough to offend the State. Hopefully the public prosecutor handling the case would see that his/her sworn duty is to prosecute those who offend the State, not those who offend the President (unless the act was also an offense against the State).

You know what offends the State? Allowing billions worth of shabu to enter our territory. Now that’s what should be prosecuted.

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