Saturday July 21, 2018

Seares: They’re joking. It’s not a Bomb Joke Law

LAST June 10, a Japan-bound Filipina was asked at Manila international airport what she had in her bag. “Trinkets and a bomb, joke, joke, joke.”

Last Sept. 10, at a Cebu City mall, a woman shopper said, when her bag was inspected by the guard, there was a bomb in it, quickly adding with a smile, she was only joking.

The two women were both arrested: the first, right after she said there was a bomb; the second, some 20 minutes later.

Both clearly labeled their “information” almost in the same breath they said it. There was no chance for the message receiver to think it was true.

Presidential Decree 1727 considers as an offense the act of (1) “willfully making any threat” or (2) “maliciously” giving the information, knowing it to be false, to kill, injure or threaten an individual or damage property by means of explosives or similar devices.

They’ve been calling PD 1727 as Bomb Joke Law but nowhere in the law does it say that any joke about bombs is punishable.

Did the women make any threat against any person or property with the use of bombs or explosives?

How could they pass “false information” when they clearly said they were only joking? The law uses the words “willfully” and “maliciously,” meaning ill intent, expressed in the threat to kill or wound a person or destroy property.

The airport woman added immediately to her statement: “joke, joke, joke.” The mall woman also promptly said, smilingly, she was only joking.

Make it clear

We’re all for banning bomb jokes at airports, planes, ships, malls and other public places.

But let the violation be made clear in the law. They can’t convict the people they arrest under a law that certifiably has not lost its humor.

Unless there’s an amendment to PD 1717 we don’t know about, it’s not a Bomb Joke Law.

The joke is in giving the law that name.