Friday, May 26, 2017

Mindanao Martial Law 101 for Ordinary Juans

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

What happens after President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared at 10 pm last Tuesday Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao and its islands?
Would Duterte’s pet peeve ABS CBN TV Network, the critical Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the irritating online newsmagazine be banned to circulate their news, that regularly assailed the president, in the islands?
Would teenagers sporting long hair, just like those rock singers, and beard and those caught in the curfew roaming after 10 o’clock in the evening and the wee hours automatically arrested and locked up just like what Dictator Ferdinand Marcos had done in the early and middle of 1970s after he declared Martial Law in September 23, 1972?
Would this scenario I heard when I was a wide eyed child in Cotabato happened? 

Image result for martial law
This after Muslim Black Shirts’ rebels (predecessor of the Moro National Liberation Front) massacred an entire Catholic Church’s parishioners, members of the military and the dreaded Ilaga (Christian extremist paramilitary composed mostly of Ilonggos), who want to retaliate tit-for-tat the carnage, flagged every passenger of plying buses, mini-buses, and public utility jeeps and body frisked and searched their belongings for any hidden firearm and asked them the incriminatory question:
Ano ang tribu mo (What’s your tribe)?
Here were the following answers of the passengers;
Passenger A: Ilonggo ako (with a real Ilonggo accent and he was given the safety exit).
Passenger B: Cebuano ako (with a real Cebuano accent and he was given safety exit).
Passenger C: Ilocano ako (with a real Ilocano accent and he was given the safety exit).
Passenger D: Tagalog ako (with a real Tagalog accent and he was given the safety exit).
Passenger E: (A Muslim, whose name if I was not wrong was Datu Udtog Ramanam Amin, who was trembling at the rear seat of the bus retorted to the intimidating query): Tagalog ako (with a thick Muslim accent that betrays him) and he was pumped with a bullet on the head.
The same scenarios ensued in other places in Mindanao.

That impunity, in the unlimited power of Marcos’ Martial Law, would not happen after Duterte declared Military Rule last May 23 unless he skirts off the limitation of the law and runs the country by usurping the works of Congress and the Supreme Court - just like what Strong Man Marcos had done.

The present power provided by the 1987 Constitution to a president reigning under Martial Law was bastardized and emaciated by the members of the Constitutional Commission because they were still traumatized by the Marcosian Military Edict.
Here’s how limited is the power of the Commander-in-Chief after he declared the “Strong-Man Law”.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (Paragraph 5)”.
About our fear that the president would ban newspapers and shut- down television stations like the pesky Lopezes owned ABS-CBN TV, the president could not do it since the network is part of the press freedom, freedom of expression, non-impairment of the obligation of contract, others as enunciated by the Constitution.
Even the declaration of curfew hours are still left with legislative assemblies, not the military, like town, city, and provincial legislative bodies we call Sanggunian.  
The target of the president after he declared military rule is limited only in two offenders who are involved in rebellion and invasion with a qualification, yes Virginia, with a qualification of “when the public safety requires it”.

My poser: After the Maute/ ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) had been neutralized and on the ran at the early dawn of March 23, does the barometer of “when the public safety requires it” not only in Marawi City, where 100 of these malefactors swooped the city to save a wounded leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon who feared capture by State Troopers in the city commercial village Basak Malutlut, and other parts of Mindanao still applicable?
Aside from those involved in invasion and rebellion, the Constitutional provision on Martial Law gives limits to the president.
The president may, for a period not exceeding 60 days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.
Within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President.
 Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it (Paragraph 1).
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any Filipino citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing (Paragraph 4).

Here’s my take:
Since the validity of the Law needs the approval of Congress who votes in a joint session, for me the president can get the nod of the solons on his intention since most of the members there are his allies.
Most of them kowtow to Malacanang because of the “Power of the Pork”. Mawawalan ng S.O.P or cut ang mga senators and congressmen sa private contractors who do the projects given in their district by the Palace if they torpedoed Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law.

But here’s the real McCoy that could get the goat of Duterte.

Would the members of the Supreme Court uphold Duterte’s Martial Law after a citizen questioned its Constitutionality and the High Tribunal decides adversely within 30 days?

The question at bar here is for the justices to debate and decide:

 Does the rebellion persist and public safety requires it?

Oh by the way, the crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. (As amended by Republic Act 6968).


Does the Maute/ISIS alliance of terror in Marawi City possesses the qualification asked by RA 6968 for the president to declare Martial Law?


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1 comment:

  1. I read here that Mindanaoans Are Safe because of this martial law. They list the benefits of martial law in Mindanao.