Duterte’s martial law version is justifiable so far

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc June 01,2017 - 09:32 PM


With all due respect to those who had a miserable experience during the martial law of the late dictator president Ferdinand Marcos, the recently declared martial law in Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte is so far within the bounds of the law.

I understand our elders who had a traumatic experience of the Marcos version of martial law that they were very sensitive even upon hearing that the incumbent President has declared martial law in Mindanao. But those 50 years old and below were spared from that trauma because they were still children then. In fact, many were not yet born when martial law was declared in September 21, 1972.

Admittedly in my part, I was not born yet when martial law was declared. I only learned about it based on the account of my parents, history books and documentaries. I learned that some of our elders had negative experiences about martial law, but there are some who were positive about it.

I acknowledge that personal experience is very much different from just hearing it. Hence, in my case, I am not so sensitive about the words “martial law.” As an independent person, I can observe the recent martial law in an objective manner, whether it is within the ambit of the law.

Considering that martial law is one of the powers of the President as provided for by the 1987 Constitution, this means that the framers of the fundamental law really acknowledged the significance of the said power. So it must be used when necessary; otherwise, it should have not been incorporated in the so-called freedom Constitution.

Article 7 Section 18 says, “The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”

Such provision of the Constitution provides the power and limitations of using the said power. What is important as of now is to observe if the same has been used within the bound of its limit.

The ground is clear. There is an enormous problem of terrorism and rebellion in Marawi City as manifested by the shocking horror acts of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Group. They murdered innocent people, kidnapped the helpless including a priest, burned establishments and raised the flags of ISIS, an international terrorist group that they are connected with.

The Du30 martial law version is time bounded for sixty days as mandated by the Constitution. He is correct in limiting it to Mindanao only. This is totally different from the Marcos martial law version because it was not time bound; in fact it, was implemented for 10 years and it placed the entire country under martial law.

Although Duterte has a problem in his speeches since the campaign period, in actual action he followed the procedural requirement of the Constitution by submitting a report to Congress within 48 hours. This is in line with the principle of check and balance.

Noticeably people, except for a few who have other interests, have not reacted negatively to the declaration of Duterte as against the declaration of Marcos. This is because Duterte has a genuine basis in the true crises in Marawi City as against Marcos who made an artificial scenario to make the people believe that there was a need for him to declare martial law.

Recall that Marcos made a series of scenarios of the different bombings in the country. They were followed by a fake ambush of his defense secretary, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, the so-called architect of Martial Law. From there, Marcos declared martial law. He was insulting the intelligence of the Filipino people.

If one observes the Duterte martial law version objectively, there is actually nothing to worry about. Take note that unlike the Marcos version, the Duterte version allows the two other branches of government such as the judiciary and the legislative to do their respective duties. The press, a significant sector in monitoring of the abuses, is not threatened.

So far it is still premature to protest about it, especially to those who were not born yet when the first martial law was declared.

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TAGS: Marawi City, martial law, Maute, Mindanao, peace, President Rodrigo Duterte, terrorism, terrorist

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