Imperial, Jonas Luis: The Role of Electronic Warfare in Combating Terrorism in the Philippines

INTRODUCTION

The concept of Electronic Warfare emerged during World War I. Both the Allied Power and Axis Power utilize the electromagnetic spectrum in order to intercept or jam the communication system of each other. During this war electronic warfare is basically use for intercepting vital information with intelligence value to attain victory in battlefield and this concept is used also for the purpose of deception or deny the enemy from getting access from information and communication system.

When radars a war materiel using electromagnetic spectrum was invented in order to detect warplanes particularly bombers since Air Warfare plays a vital role in achieving victory. Proponents of this type of warfare firmly believed that whoever attains air superiority and control will win the war. During the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) suffered heavy losses from Royal Air Force (British Air Force) since the latter are using the radar effectively in order to detect, pinpoint, and intercept the enemy warplanes which resulted heavy casualties to the German Warplanes particularly German Bombers.

In the Pacific Theatre especially during the Bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Japanese Navy Warplanes under the Command Admiral Yamamoto utilized electromagnetic jammer to avoid detection from United States Defense Radar. The United States attained victory in the Pacific since Japanese vital information were intercepted by U.S intelligence using electromagnetic devices that turns the tide of the battle in favor of the Americans particularly in the Battle of Midway, Leyte Gulf, Surigao Strait and Corral Sea.

In the Korean War, military strategist and tactician realized the value and importance electronic warfare since during this period warplanes are using jet engine and war materiel and equipments using electromagnetic spectrum were utilized in this war. The Radar Technology was further developing by both sides, First World Countries (Industrialized and Develop Countries and Communist/ Soviet bloc’s States. US F4’s and F5’s are using sophisticated jet engines and avionics just like their Soviet made MIG’s warplanes counterpart.

Electronic Warfare further improved during the Cold War era when Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s), long range missiles were, developed by both US and Soviet Military forces for the purpose of deterring attacks since ICBM’s are carrying nuclear warheads. During this era, the focus and priorities of both sides is research, development and utilization of electronic warfare together with nuclear warfare in order to achieve victory.

After the disintegration of the Union Soviet Socialist Republic or Russia (USSR) in 1989, electronic warfare was tested again during the “Operation Desert Storm” in the liberating the State of Kuwait from Iraq’s invasion. US warplanes and Coalition Forces warplanes used electronic gadgets and equipment in order to hit their strategic targets up to the nearest ten meters accuracy thus minimizing collateral damages. Precision Bombing was achieved by the Coalition Forces by utilizing sophisticated war materiel using electromagnetic spectrum.

During also the Kosovo War, United Nations forces particularly North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) warplanes used again the electromagnetic spectrum in order to confuse and deceive the former Yugoslavia’s Air Defense System. Electronic Warfare was primarily used for deception purposes.

In the invasion of Iraq, precision bombing was achieve again by using most modern and sophisticated war equipments as a result collateral damage was further reduced and minimized.

PRESENT SITUATION

After the 9-11 incident (terrorist attack in New York twin tower), United States further realized the importance and value of electronic warfare. Islamic Radicals and Extremist shifted the warfare in other dimension knowingly that they cannot defeat the superior and powerful forces of US in conventional battlefield. The concept of Asymmetric Warfare emerges since the warfare is not fought in conventional manner anymore. Islamic Radicals organizations particularly those funded by Saudi Arabian Billionaire Osama Bin Laden shifted the battlefield in another dimension that resorted to terrorism to instill fear and terror in the hearts and mind of the populace of United States, France, United Kingdom and countries which supported US.

Bin Laden organized loosely terrorist cells/groups as long as it is capable of achieving its objectives thus the concept of “Spaghetti Organization” emerges, organizations being loosely managed and control as long as it is capable of accomplishing its objectives and purpose. This concept was introduced by Bin Laden so that his location will not be pinpointed by United States Intelligence particularly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Electronic Warfare plays vital role in order to deter, detect and preempt terroristic attacks and atrocities against innocent and helpless populace. In Southeast Asia Region, US intelligence reports confirms that Bin Laden financed and funded terrorist cells/groups operating in the mentioned region. Indonesian JI which is responsible in Bali Bombing in Indonesia which killed and injured hundreds of people.

In the Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a Muslim radical and extremist group operating in Southern Philippines especially in Basilan and Sulo province are being funded and financed by Bin Laden according to US Intelligence reports. United States Intelligence experts and analyst firmly believe that the ASG was able to get funds from Bin Laden through bogus International Islamic Civic Organizations donating funds for the development in Mindanao. The ASG conducted terroristic attacks directed against the local populace like the Rizal Day LRT bombing in the year 2000, the Super ferry Commercial Vessel Bombing and Valentine’s Day public transport Bombing in the year 2004. Likewise the Dos Palmas kidnapping incident in which the Philippines was embarrassed in the International Community since United States Nationals are one of the victims in this humiliating incidence were perpetrated by ASG under the command of Khadafy Janjalani. Series of kidnappings and bombings were conducted by this fundamentalist and extremist Islamic group further place the Philippines in the international limelight since in the eyes of the international community the war against terrorism of the Philippine Government is futile.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) intensifies its campaign against terrorism by conducting special and conventional military operations as a response of the order of the President of Philippines being the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police.

The War against Terrorism produced positive results to some extent since key Abu Sayyaf Leaders were killed and neutralized among this are Khadafy Janjalani, Abu Sabaya, ASG’s spokesman, Al- Gozi, an Indonesian suspected JI, and Mujib Susukan. Galib Andang alias KUMANDER Robot was captured, however he was killed by the combined elements of Regional Special Action Unit (RSAU) and Special Action Force (SAF) of Philippine National Police in Camp Bagong Diwa,Bicutan, Taguig City in a bloody jail breaking incident when he and his fellow inmates attempt to escape from the detention center by killing and wounding the jail guards.

The operations of the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police yielded somewhat positive results since electronic warfare plays a vital role in the conduct of military operations directed against the ASG. Electronic warfare were instrumental in campaign against terrorism in the sense that ASG’s camps and safe houses were pinpointed and ASG’s terroristic plans were detected and preempted to some extent. Several ASG members were also killed and captured by using human intelligence back up with electronic warfare.

On the other hand the ASG uses the cyber space in making their propaganda and recruitment. In fact ASG has several websites in for propaganda and recruitment purposes. This Islamic Extremist Groups are recruiting openly by using the internet. ASG are utilizing this medium in order to encourage someone to join their group. Likewise propaganda is also carried via the internet medium since propaganda information is being disseminated by using the cyber space.

Legal Situation

To further more effective on war against terrorism, the Philippine Legislature (House of Representatives and Upper House, Senate) during the thirteenth Congress enacted the Human Security Act of 2007. The main objective of this law is to secure the State and protect the people from terrorism this particular Republic Act punishes the crime of terrorism since there is no crime of terrorism under the Revised Penal Code.

Section 2 of Republic Act 9372 under the Declaration of Policy states that “It is declared a policy of the state to protect life, liberty, and property from the acts of terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of our country and to the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against Filipino People, against humanity, and against the law of nations.” In order to be more effective in fighting terrorism, the crime of terrorism is placed with the same category of the crime of piracy which is considered crime against humanity and law of nations.

Section 4 also provides a provision for the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism which expressly provides that “there is a conspiracy to commit terrorism when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of the crime of terrorism as defined in section 8 hereof and decide to commit the same.” Just like the crime of treason and rebellion in which the existence and survival of the state is at stake, conspiracy to commit terrorism is already a crime and it is punishable by forty years imprisonment.

Section 7 also provides for the surveillance of suspects and interception and recording of communications in relation to RA 4200 otherwise known as the Anti Wire Tapping Law.

Section 8 of this law expressly provides that “the written order of the authorizing division of the Court of Appeals to crack down, tap, listen to, , intercept, and record communications, messages, conversations, discussions, or spoken or written words of any person suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism shall only be granted by the authorizing Division of the Court of Appeals upon ex parte written application of a police or of a law enforcement official who has been duly authorized in writing by the Anti- Terrorism Council created in Section 58 of this Act to file such ex parte applications and upon examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce to establish (a) that there is probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism has been committed, or is being committed, or about to be committed, (b) that there is probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that evidence which is essential to the conviction of any charged, or suspected person for or to the solution or prevention of any such crimes, will be obtained and, (c) that there is no other effective means readily available for acquiring such evidence.”

Section 9 and 10 provides for the classification and contents of the order of the courts and the affective period of Judicial Authorization respectively.

Section 13 provides that “the sealed envelope or sealed package and the contents thereof, which are deposited with the authorizing division of the Court of Appeals shall be deemed and hereby declared classified information and the sealed envelope or sealed package shall not be opened and its contents including the tapes. Discs and recordings and all the excerpts and summaries thereof and the notes and memoranda made in connection therewith shall not be divulged. authorizing division of the Court of Appeals which written order shall be granted only upon a written application of the Department of Justice filed before the authorizing Division of the Court of Appeals and only upon a showing that the Department of Justice has been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council to file the application with proper written notice the person whose conversation, communication, message discussion or spoken or written words have been the subject of surveillance, monitoring, recording and interception to open, reveal, divulge and use the contents of the sealed envelope or sealed package as evidence.”

Section 14 and 15 provides for the application to open deposited sealed envelope or sealed package and evidentiary value of deposited materials respectively.

Section 18 expressly provides that “ the provisions of Article 15 of the Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code to the contrary notwithstanding, any police or law enforcement personnel who, having been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council has been taken custody of a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime to commit terrorism shall without incurring any criminal liability for delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authority, deliver said charged or suspected person to the proper judicial authority within a period of three days counted from the moment the said charged or suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by the said police or law enforcement personnel.”

Likewise the Human Security Act of 2007 expressly provides for the punishments and sanctions for violations of the provisions of this law committed by the police and law enforcement personnel in order to safeguard and protect the constitutional rights of the people particularly the right against unreasonable searches and seizures and the right to communication/correspondence and privacy.

Also the applicable laws to be considered in the role of electronic warfare in war against terrorism are the Anti- Wire Tapping Law (RA 4200), Electronic Commerce Act (RA 8792) particularly Section 33 (a) regarding hacking or cracking, Anti-Money Laundering Law and Electronic Evidence Law.

IMPLICATION

Electronic Warfare plays an important role in war against terrorism, however in order to implement this strategy effectively and efficiently, the constitutional rights of the people must be safeguarded and protected at all times. Considering the vast resources of the State as compared against the ordinary people particularly the law enforcement agency of the government especially the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Bureau of Investigation and prosecuting agency which is the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice. In order to preempt or prevent the possible abuse by the State, several provisions in RA 9372 that will serve as safety nets were crafted by our law makers.

Section 18 provides for the maximum period of detention without Judicial Warrant which is three days counted from the moment the said charged or suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by the said police or law enforcement personnel.

Section 20 provides for the penalty for failure to deliver suspect to the proper Judicial Authority within three days which is from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years imprisonment.

Section 21 provides for the rights custodial investigation of a person charged with or suspected of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Section 22 expressly provides for the penalty for violating the rights under custodial investigation of a person charged with or suspected of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism committed by police or law enforcement personnel which is from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years imprisonment.

Section 24 states that “no threat, intimidation, or coercion, and no act which will inflict any form of physical pain or torment, or mental, moral, or psychological pressure on the detained person, which shall vitiate his free will, shall be employed in his investigation and interrogation for the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism and testimony gathered will be absolutely not admissible and usable as evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative, or administrative investigation, inquiry, proceeding, or hearing.”

Section 25 provides that “any person or persons who use threat, intimidation, or coercion, or who inflict physical pain or torment, or mental, moral, or psychological pressure, which shall vitiate the free will of a charged or suspected person under investigation and interrogation for the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism, shall be guilty of an offense and shall suffer the penalty of 12 years and 1 day to 20 years of imprisonment.” The same penalty is imposed when death or serious permanent disability of said detained person occurs as a consequence of the use of such threat, intimidation, or coercion, or as a consequence of the infliction of him of such mental, moral, or psychological pressure.”

Also the right to communication and correspondence, right to travel and abode, and the right to privacy of the people must be considered in war against terrorism using the concept of electronic warfare.

CONCLUSION

Electronic plays a vital role in war against terrorism, however it must be within the legal framework in order to safeguard and protect the constitutional rights of the people otherwise the Philippines will be considered as police or totalitarian state by the international community. Respect for human rights and human dignity must be taken into consideration by police and law enforcement personnel.

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