The Right of Self-Defense is as old as man himself, much older than the written laws ( positive law) which came much later, and is the ultimate right at his disposal when there is an immediate threat to life and limb. This right springs from our instinct of self-preservation. It is thus a natural, biologically-rooted right. Philippine jurisprudence sanctioned this natural right by incorporating it in our body of laws and codes specifically under Section 1, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.
Here’s the author David Kopel for a little legal historical background: “According to Giovanni da Legnano, fourteenth century Milanese ( Milan, Italy) scholar “self-defense proceeds from natural law, and not from positive law, civil or canon.” While positive law did sanction self-defense, self-defense was not an artificial creation of positive law, but rather was an inherent instinct. Although the fourteenth century world was strictly hierarchical, Legnano allowed for self-defense against one’s superior, or even against a judge, if it were clear that the defender was the victim of an unprovoked violent attack. Even a slave could defend his own life against a master, because the law did not allow masters to kill their slaves. Self-defense is lawful, wrote Legnano, not only in defense of life, but also in defense of lawfully possessed property, with deadly force if necessary.The principle of self-defense allows a person to come to the aid of a relative or friend whose person or property is being attacked. Aiding others is not compulsory, however, unless a person can do so safely. Notably, a victim is not required to use only the precise level of force that his assailant uses: “suppose a strong and vigorous man strikes me with his fist, and I am a poor fellow who cannot stand up to him with the fist. May I defend myself with a sword?” Legnano answered in the affirmative. ” So Legnano’s logic.
Here is what Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines says about Self-Defense.
Art. 11. Justifying circumstances. � The following do not incur any criminal liability:
1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances concur:
First. Unlawful aggression;
Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
Here is the whole thing again:
Everybody wants to live in peace and avoids as much as possible any kind of aggression or violent situation. However, reality teaches us that there are people who cannot resist -for various reasons and motives- to perpetrate evil actions ( unlawful aggression) against a non-provoking, innocent ( lack of sufficient provocation) third party. Under sudden attack, any healthy person instinctively repels the attack to protect his own life. In this situation which normally happens unexpected and quick, you have mostly no time to plan your action. Your success is measured in the end by the fact that you are still alive by either causing the assailant to flee or by incapacitating him, worse, killing him. Hurting or killing the assailant in the end is by no means a free-wheeling affair. Now it’s the turn of the legal experts and the court to judge your reaction ( reasonable necessity of the means employed ) and result of such reaction to the said unlawful aggression. The burden of proof rests upon you now. But, first, this is the problem that comes after and doesn’t pose a direct threat to your life anymore and, second, this time you have a lawyer defending you.
Of course we do not wish that we would be in such a situation where we have to fight to defend our lives. However, If there are threats or intimidation happening to you or your family, then it is also your right to do something for your own safety and to be alert, be careful and be observant and use the tools available. Nowadays there are many ways you can do for your protection aside from directly informing the authorities (Police, etc. if you feel being threatened or intimidated by a third party ) and undertaking those common safety measures that we all know as we go on with our daily life.
If there is a perceived threat, then it’s time to double your alertness and security measures. The following course of actions may add to improve your personal security:
1. Use of your cellular phones
Create a sort of Tele-Alarm System among yourselves by calling and informing your friend directly about your security problem. This friend in turn calls the next one and so on until everybody on the list of your Tele-Alarm System has been reached and informed. You have to speak among yourselves during your meetings the course of actions to be undertaken , everything of course will depend on the nature and gravity of the situation.
In a place where politicians are corrupt, oftentimes you wouldn’t be able to trust even the law enforcers. Once the police have sold their loyalty and professionalism to a crook politician, then they have lost their credibility and sympathy of the people and are therefore no longer in a position to demand respect. In fact they have reduced themselves to private goons, becoming like poor watchdogs for the selfish interest of their boss and of themselves and they behave foolishly like licensed criminals.
In such a situation, to act as a group is much more effective than to keep your problem to yourself and to solo your security measures. Prepare ready-made emergency sms (Text), store it in your cellular phones and just send it quick in situation where you can not call anymore or when silence and discretion is of high priority.
2. Use of your photo, video or cellular phone cameras.
If correctly (no malice intention ) employed, this method is very effective in documenting your observations- and in exposing abuses , corrupt activities and other malevolent actions of criminal people, corrupt police officers and politicians. Once a domain of photo-reporters, journalists and secret agents, this method is now practically employed by everybody. If needed make use of gratis platforms like youtube to upload and post your materials. Always make a backup of your video materials for future use like court hearings, etc. Latest example of the positive use of video reporting taken by a farmer secretely is the exposure of the brutal police treatment of the farmers defending their land and properties after they were disowned by the state in the name of modernization boom (construction of highways, bridges, factories etc.) where the said farmers’ properties happen to stand on the way. The chinese government, repressive and denying as it is, were forced to publicly apologize to the world and to these farmers after the video material appeared in Internet.
3. Link your group to other people and professionals (Lawyers, local Journalists, Local Radio Reporters, Barangay Captains, Head Teachers, Religious Leaders, etc.) so that they may know the existence of your group and it’s purpose and so that they may also be encouraged to create one and also to assist you in legal matters and the like. If this would spread in the whole town, resulting in the formation of many such groups, then it would be high time to create, let us say, a Citizen Self-Defense Network. This is one way to combat abuses and intimidation from people who are supposed to protect you, yet due to corruption ended up protecting their own selfish interest using their office and ,worse, the weapons paid by you,- the tax payers.
You must always remember that the Philippines is a Constitutional State, it’s a rule of law ( not a rule of one man or woman), meaning our civil liberties and rights are provided for in the Constitution (see Bill Of Rights ), and that you are not a criminal if you are aware of your rights and if you make use of them, defend or fight for them. And do not forget, Bulan is part of Philippine jurisdiction, thus the Constitution also applies to Bulan, to every tagaBulan. As I have said before, Bulan is no longer an isolated town with timid population where elected government officials (and a few feudalistic people ) may just rule and abuse their office and people as they wish. Concerned tagaBulans all over the country, all over the globe are now watching Bulan and are ready to help prevent abuses and expose to the whole world corrupt public servants by their names. In Bulan, sovereignty also resides in the people! It is populated now by people who are becoming conscious of their political culture, people with well-developed sense for justice and duty for the community, people who desire for progress and real change for the better. The tagaBulans are on their way to modernising their thinking yet remaining proud of their noble traditions.
Again, let us help one another in protecting the integrity of all tagaBulans.