on the alleged boycott of the Nobel Peace Prize awards

It has been said that the reason for the boycott was to save a couple of drug mules from the death penalty.

Consequently, someone asked, “why is it in our national interest to save drug mules?”

The answer to that is because our country abolished the death penalty. The death penalty is not in our national interest. Barbaric forms of justice are not in our national interest. And so, as a civilized country it is incumbent upon us to frustrate barbarians at every turn. It is in our national interest to advance civilization.

There are countries in the world, Canada for one, that will not extradite people who are in danger of being sentenced to death. They, in effect, harbor criminals.

Why is it in their national interest to harbor criminals?

Because enlightened countries will not abide barbarism, even if it means giving safe haven to criminals.

Now a word on the Nobel Peace Prize. Henry Kissinger won that prize because of the Vietnam peace accord. The fact that America was forced to sue for peace after its carpet bombing of Hanoi and its illegal invasion of Cambodia failed to stop the North Vietnamese seems of no import to the Nobel awards committee. That should tell you something about the integrity of the award.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Francisco Diez

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • GabbyD

    and another issue… is the justice system subject to international relations?

    if a crime happens in RP, and the criminal is a foreigner, would we give up the convicted man because of a request by a foreign govt. this is even worse if the request isnt formalized.

    isnt this something that we will never accept? then why are we asking for the same from the chinese?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      gabby,

      when a citizen in trouble abroad asks his government for help, the government is dutybound to help. in the case of a convicted national, the government must review the case and assess whether the national was given due process etc. If the government finds a miscarriage of justice then it must act to defend its national, if it does not then the government should not intercede on is behalf except to appeal for leniency or clemency especially if the national was sentenced to death or the conditions of his imprisonment are inhuman.

  • GabbyD

    and another issue… is the justice system subject to international relations?

    if a crime happens in RP, and the criminal is a foreigner, would we give up the convicted man because of a request by a foreign govt. this is even worse if the request isnt formalized.

    isnt this something that we will never accept? then why are we asking for the same from the chinese?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      gabby,

      when a citizen in trouble abroad asks his government for help, the government is dutybound to help. in the case of a convicted national, the government must review the case and assess whether the national was given due process etc. If the government finds a miscarriage of justice then it must act to defend its national, if it does not then the government should not intercede on is behalf except to appeal for leniency or clemency especially if the national was sentenced to death or the conditions of his imprisonment are inhuman.

  • GabbyD

    did we attend or not?

    “As of December 10, 46 embassies have indicated that they will be represented at the Ceremony, 2 ( Algeria and Sri Lanka ) have not replied, and 15 have for various reasons declined our invitations.

    The 15 are: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Egypt, Sudan, Cuba and Morocco.”

    i cant link, but its on the website of nobel

  • GabbyD

    did we attend or not?

    “As of December 10, 46 embassies have indicated that they will be represented at the Ceremony, 2 ( Algeria and Sri Lanka ) have not replied, and 15 have for various reasons declined our invitations.

    The 15 are: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Egypt, Sudan, Cuba and Morocco.”

    i cant link, but its on the website of nobel

  • GabbyD

    ok. NOW i’m confused. did we send someone or not?

    http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/embassies-2010/

    “As of December 10, 46 embassies have indicated that they will be represented at the Ceremony, 2 ( Algeria and Sri Lanka ) have not replied, and 15 have for various reasons declined our invitations.

    The 15 are: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Egypt, Sudan, Cuba and Morocco.”

    we are NOT in the 15

  • GabbyD

    isnt the penalty of drug trafficking death, from the comprehensive dangerous drugs act of 2002?

    RA9165:

    ARTICLE II

    Unlawful Acts and Penalties

    Section 4. Importation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.- .The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug, regardless of the quantity and purity involved, including any and all species of opium poppy or any part thereof or substances derived therefrom even for floral, decorative and culinary purposes.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Gabby D,

      Congress passed a law abolishing the death penalty so Art II of RA9165 is over and done with.

      • GabbyD

        i guess i’m looking for more information on what the national interest is.

        if the national interrest had been “no to death penalty”, then pnoy should have led with that, and said more about what their proposed plan is for these prisoners, other than to “save their lives”.

        • Manuelbuencamino

          what plan? you ask the chinese to free them. we can’t invade China or impose economic sanctions on them. What was that saying from theucydides – the strong do what they want and the weak…

          • GabbyD

            ah, u see thats the thing… what does pnoy want–

            to free them

            OR

            save their lives?

            if u want to free them, we ask, why free them? didnt they commit a crime, albeit in another country?

          • Manuelbuencamino

            that;s always been the problem ofws who committed real crimes like murder etc. and who were in jail in saudi were set free and deported to the philippines. they can’t be thrown in jail because they did not commit the crime here.

            I’ve always believed that someone who commits a crime abroad should serve his time abroad. the problem is if the punishment is death penalty. i think the philippines should ask for the sentence to be reduced to life. but in general I don’t think we should take back criminals. however if the offense involves drugs well they shouldn’t be in jail in the first place. drugs are only a problem because they have been criminalized.

  • GabbyD

    isnt the penalty of drug trafficking death, from the comprehensive dangerous drugs act of 2002?

    RA9165:

    ARTICLE II

    Unlawful Acts and Penalties

    Section 4. Importation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.- .The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug, regardless of the quantity and purity involved, including any and all species of opium poppy or any part thereof or substances derived therefrom even for floral, decorative and culinary purposes.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Gabby D,

      Congress passed a law abolishing the death penalty so Art II of RA9165 is over and done with.

      • GabbyD

        i guess i’m looking for more information on what the national interest is.

        if the national interrest had been “no to death penalty”, then pnoy should have led with that, and said more about what their proposed plan is for these prisoners, other than to “save their lives”.

        • Manuelbuencamino

          what plan? you ask the chinese to free them. we can’t invade China or impose economic sanctions on them. What was that saying from theucydides – the strong do what they want and the weak…

          • GabbyD

            ah, u see thats the thing… what does pnoy want–

            to free them

            OR

            save their lives?

            if u want to free them, we ask, why free them? didnt they commit a crime, albeit in another country?

          • Manuelbuencamino

            that;s always been the problem ofws who committed real crimes like murder etc. and who were in jail in saudi were set free and deported to the philippines. they can’t be thrown in jail because they did not commit the crime here.

            I’ve always believed that someone who commits a crime abroad should serve his time abroad. the problem is if the punishment is death penalty. i think the philippines should ask for the sentence to be reduced to life. but in general I don’t think we should take back criminals. however if the offense involves drugs well they shouldn’t be in jail in the first place. drugs are only a problem because they have been criminalized.

  • completely agree. i am against the death penalty and we as a country are against it. death penalty is against human rights. nobel peace prize is about human rights. in effect, we were boycotting the peace prize ceremony in pursuit of human rights — boycotting something ceremonial in pursuit of something real. I think true defenders of human rights understand that. i work in a field dedicated to seeing justice to victims of human rights abuses (in the context of war) and you really do face ethical dilemmas such as these every single day. there is no clear-cut right or wrong in a complex world like this. but you do what you can for what you believe is the greater good. i think 5 lives is worth fighting for. i’m sure they were drug mules out of desperation. some agencies consider drug muling as an arm of human trafficking. most drug mules are victims of poverty, poverty being a crime against humanity (not, however in the strictest sense), and human trafficking is a crime against humanity in the strictest sense. many drug mules are therefore themselves victims of human rights abuses.

  • completely agree. i am against the death penalty and we as a country are against it. death penalty is against human rights. nobel peace prize is about human rights. in effect, we were boycotting the peace prize ceremony in pursuit of human rights — boycotting something ceremonial in pursuit of something real. I think true defenders of human rights understand that. i work in a field dedicated to seeing justice to victims of human rights abuses (in the context of war) and you really do face ethical dilemmas such as these every single day. there is no clear-cut right or wrong in a complex world like this. but you do what you can for what you believe is the greater good. i think 5 lives is worth fighting for. i’m sure they were drug mules out of desperation. some agencies consider drug muling as an arm of human trafficking. most drug mules are victims of poverty.

  • GabbyD

    so MB, maybe u know more about the plans about these alleged drug mules… is the plan 2 extradite them? and they can serve their sentences here?

    wala pang details diba?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      I don’t know what the plans are or if there are any.

      • maybe it’s a show of good faith? i’m reading a book called “The Party” which is about Chinese politics. I don’t think they’re into the whole amnesty thing, but are very aware of regional cooperation. So who knows.

        • Anonymous

          Mayroon bang mga Chinese shabu chemists na nahuli ang Pilipinas at ngayon ay nakakulong sa Muntinglupa? May i-te-trade bang prisoners ang Pilipinas, o baka ang kapalit for the 5 mules iyong island sa Spratlys na nagtayo ng lighthouse ang China.

          O baka bigyan ni Noynoy ng fifty-year lease — gricultural land to China firm. Two-hundred thou hectares per mule; plu special deal — three hundred thou hectares kung “not guilty” si Cong Ronald Singson. Pero huwag lang sa Davao kung puwede lang.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            si GMA ang nagbigay ng agricultural lease sa china, remember?

  • GabbyD

    so MB, maybe u know more about the plans about these alleged drug mules… is the plan 2 extradite them? and they can serve their sentences here?

    wala pang details diba?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      I don’t know what the plans are or if there are any.

      • maybe it’s a show of good faith? i’m reading a book called “The Party” which is about Chinese politics. I don’t think they’re into the whole amnesty thing, but are very aware of regional cooperation. So who knows.

        • Anonymous

          Mayroon bang mga Chinese shabu chemists na nahuli ang Pilipinas at ngayon ay nakakulong sa Muntinglupa? May i-te-trade bang prisoners ang Pilipinas, o baka ang kapalit for the 5 mules iyong island sa Spratlys na nagtayo ng lighthouse ang China.

          O baka bigyan ni Noynoy ng fifty-year lease, one-million hectares agricultural land to China firm. (two-hundred thou hectares per mule; at special price — three hundred thou hectares kung “not guilty” si Cong Ronald Singson), pero huwag lang sa Davao kung puwede lang.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            si GMA ang nagbigay ng agricultural lease sa china, remember?

        • Anonymous

          Mayroon bang mga Chinese shabu chemists na nahuli ang Pilipinas at ngayon ay nakakulong sa Muntinglupa? May i-te-trade bang prisoners ang Pilipinas, o baka ang kapalit for the 5 mules iyong island sa Spratlys na nagtayo ng lighthouse ang China.

          O baka bigyan ni Noynoy ng fifty-year lease, one-million hectares agricultural land to China firm. (two-hundred thou hectares per mule; at special price — three hundred thou hectares kung “not guilty” si Cong Ronald Singson), pero huwag lang sa Davao kung puwede lang.

  • MB, we can dispense with the “alleged” qualifier. PNoy’s statement that the non-attendance was done “in the national interest” indicates it was not a conflict of schedule on the part of our ambassador, but a deliberate decision on the government’s part not to send him there.

    • Anonymous

      From an e-mail… allegedly (allegedly, that’s a nice word, MB)….

      allegedly, it was Coloma’s idea to use the 5 mules as cover. When Coloma sensed outrage — demonstrations, blog-comments, articles — against PresNoynoy boycott of the Oslo human rights ceremonies, Coloma had the diplomatic letter sent last week.

      ManuelB: was the diplomatic letter asking for the mules to be freed sent 4 days ago or was it sent 4 months ago? “Palabas lang iyan!!! Gawa-gawa lang iyong diplomatic letter para nay palusot.” : email. Has Beijing even received a letter about the mules? Baka naman “… still in the mail”.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        Bullshit, outrage by metro manila residents? Allegedly yan di ba? Because I asked around carmona, cavite what they felt about the boycott of the nobel peace prize. Guess what they said….

        Doesn’t matter when the letter sent, if indeed there was one. The important thing is the president sent a letter. Keep your eye on the ball!

        • Anonymous

          Sa mga pamilya ko sa Davao, mas alam di nila, sar chiubao, hindi Liu Xiaobao, para din palang mga taga Carmona, heh heh heh…..

          • Manuelbuencamino

            nobol fess fries akala nila may bagong ma-order na sa jollibee. sabi naman nung isa, mas masarap ba yan kaysa fess bols?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      doy,

      yes we can. Anyway my point was we can’t run with the statements of unnamed sources when it concerns official policy. We must wait for official confirmation that such a policy is in effect before we say anything. Unnamed sources are useful for gray areas or when he government is secretly implementing an unofficial policy detrimental to the natonal interest.

    • i agree with you sir. and my another question to malacanang (whoever advised the president not allow representative of our country) is, does national interest up in the hands of convicted drug mules as compared to upholding principles of democracy that china is suppressing. sabi nya philippines is a sovereign nation but why does he succumb to china’s pressure?i really want to be enlightened as to why are we sacrificing the legacy of our country as bastion of democracy in asia to the pressure of china na ipatupad ang batas nila na death penalty. diba country’s interest is it’s peoples interest? and ang pagbabaliwala sa interest ng bansa at pagbabaliwala din sa interest ng mamamayan kapalit ng 5 tao who have been sentenced and convicted of a crime they’ve committed.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        ronnie, ang death penalty ay contra sa interes ng bansa natin. Kaya nga inabolish natin yun. Ang death penalty ay isang barbaric practice na hindi dapat ginagawa ng isang bayan na civilisado.

        Isasakripisyo mo ba ang buhay ng limang tao para lang makapagpakitang tao ka sa message awards dinner?.

  • MB, we can dispense with the “alleged” qualifier. PNoy’s statement that the non-attendance was done “in the national interest” indicates it was not a conflict of schedule on the part of our ambassador, but a deliberate decision on the government’s part not to send him there.

    • Anonymous

      From an e-mail… allegedly (allegedly, that’s a nice word, MB)….

      allegedly, it was Coloma’s idea to use the 5 mules as cover. When Coloma sensed the outrage by metro-Manila residents against PresNoynoy boycott of the Oslo human rights ceremonies, Coloma had the diplomatic letter sent last week.

      ManuelB: was the diplomatic letter asking for the mules to be freed sent 4 days ago or was it sent 4 months ago? “Palabas lang iyan!!! Gawa-gawa lang iyong diplomatic letter para nay palusot.” : email.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        Bullshit, outrage by metro manila residents? Allegedly yan di ba? Because I asked around carmona, cavite what they felt about the boycott of the nobel peace prize. Guess what they said….

        Doesn’t matter when the letter sent, if indeed there was one. The important thing is the president sent a letter. Keep your eye on the ball!

        • Anonymous

          Sa mga pamilya ko sa Davao, mas alam di nila, sar chiubao, hindi Liu Xiaobao, para din palang mga taga Carmona, heh heh heh…..

          • Manuelbuencamino

            nobol fess fries akala nila may bagong ma-order na sa jollibee. sabi naman nung isa, mas masarap ba yan kaysa fess bols?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      doy,

      yes we can. Anyway my point was we can’t run with the statements of unnamed sources when it concerns official policy. We must wait for official confirmation that such a policy is in effect before we say anything. Unnamed sources are useful for gray areas or when he government is secretly implementing an unofficial policy detrimental to the natonal interest.

    • i agree with you sir. and my another question to malacanang (whoever advised the president not allow representative of our country) is, does national interest up in the hands of convicted drug mules as compared to upholding principles of democracy that china is suppressing. sabi nya philippines is a sovereign nation but why does he succumb to china’s pressure?i really want to be enlightened as to why are we sacrificing the legacy of our country as bastion of democracy in asia to the pressure of china na ipatupad ang batas nila na death penalty. diba country’s interest is it’s peoples interest? and ang pagbabaliwala sa interest ng bansa at pagbabaliwala din sa interest ng mamamayan kapalit ng 5 tao who have been sentenced and convicted of a crime they’ve committed.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        ronnie, ang death penalty ay contra sa interes ng bansa natin. Kaya nga inabolish natin yun. Ang death penalty ay isang barbaric practice na hindi dapat ginagawa ng isang bayan na civilisado.

        Isasakripisyo mo ba ang buhay ng limang tao para lang makapagpakitang tao ka sa message awards dinner?.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        ronnie, ang death penalty ay contra sa interes ng bansa natin. Kaya nga inabolish natin yun. Ang death penalty ay isang barbaric practice na hindi dapat ginagawa ng isang bayan na civilisado.

        Isasakripisyo mo ba ang buhay ng limang tao para lang makapagpakitang tao ka sa message awards dinner?.

  • Anonymous

    I do not think that Pinoys-in-Pilipinas really are convinced that Pilipinas should not have the death penalty. The death penalty abolition was by gloria Macapagal Arroyo teaming with the CBCP so they get pogi-points with the Pope for GMA’s visit (also for GMA to get pogi-points with Europe heads of state).

    Maybe Pinoys in Pinas don’t want death-penalty for the Pinoy drug mules convicted in China — those Pinoys were only trying to earn a living. But I thought there was a survey asking what would be appropriate penalty when the masterminds and the perpetrators of rape and murder of 2009 Maguindanao massacre get convicted. YES-to-death-penalty, hindi ba?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Up,

      The motive is not as important as what was actually accomplished. A step away from barbarism and a step closer to civilization.

      As to the survey, so what? Are we going to let numbers decide the rightness or wrongness of the death penalty? How about torture, let the numbers decide it too?

  • Anonymous

    I do not think that Pinoys-in-Pilipinas really are convinced that Pilipinas should not have the death penalty. The death penalty abolition was by gloria Macapagal Arroyo teaming with the CBCP so they get pogi-points with the Pope for GMA’s visit (also for GMA to get pogi-points with Europe heads of state).

    Maybe Pinoys in Pinas don’t want death-penalty for the Pinoy drug mules convicted in China — those Pinoys were only trying to earn a living. But I thought there was a survey asking what would be appropriate penalty when the masterminds and the perpetrators of rape and murder of 2009 Maguindanao massacre get convicted. YES-to-death-penalty, hindi ba?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Up,

      The motive is not as important as what was actually accomplished. A step away from barbarism and a step closer to civilization.

      As to the survey, so what? Are we going to let numbers decide the rightness or wrongness of the death penalty? How about torture, let the numbers decide it too?

  • Anonymous

    Malungkot naman for Congressman Singson if Hongkong cancels bail and he spends the last 10 days of 2010 in jail.

    PresNoynoy ordering Pilipinas to boycott the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo is definitely Pilipinas kowtowing to China. Appeasing China may do llittle about the Filipinos already convicted in China for drug-trafficking. Has China ever released foreigners convicted of drug trafficking?

    However, PresNoynoy kowtowing to China may be helpful for one specific Filipino — congressman Ronald Singson — who, in Hongkong, is accused of drug-trafficking. Since Congressman Singson has not been convicted yet, maybe appeasing China will, in turn, make China be more lenient towards Congressman Singson.

    Kowtowing to China, maybe, will help China forget how President Noynoy had put an end to further investigations about Quirino Grandstand Massacre. Maybe.

    Or maybe not about China forgetting Quirino Grandstand massacre. Hongkong just issued a BLACK TRAVEL ADVISORY. Paskong-pasko, black travel advisory, lupit naman.

  • Anonymous

    Malungkot naman for Congressman Singson if Hongkong cancels bail and he spends the last 10 days of 2010 in jail.

    PresNoynoy ordering Pilipinas to boycott the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo is definitely Pilipinas kowtowing to China. Appeasing China may do llittle about the Filipinos already convicted in China for drug-trafficking. Has China ever released foreigners convicted of drug trafficking?

    However, PresNoynoy kowtowing to China may be helpful for one specific Filipino — congressman Ronald Singson — who, in Hongkong, is accused of drug-trafficking. Since Congressman Singson has not been convicted yet, maybe appeasing China will, in turn, make China be more lenient towards Congressman Singson.

  • Anonymous

    Malungkot naman for Congressman Singson if Hongkong cancels bail and he spends the last 10 days of 2010 in jail.

    PresNoynoy ordering Pilipinas to boycott the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo is definitely Pilipinas kowtowing to China. Appeasing China may do llittle about the Filipinos already convicted in China for drug-trafficking. Has China ever released foreigners convicted of drug trafficking?

    However, PresNoynoy kowtowing to China may be helpful for one specific Filipino — congressman Ronald Singson — who, in Hongkong, is accused of drug-trafficking. Since Congressman Singson has not been convicted yet, maybe appeasing China will, in turn, make China be more lenient towards Congressman Singson.