Following the violent attacks of the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte was forced to declare a Martial Law covering the entire Mindanao area where the terrorist group reportedly originated. As a result, many speculations have been circulating through media outlets, television, radio and even through social media that the recent move done by the President to curb the forces of terrorist attacks have gone overboard and was alluded to the days when the late President Ferdinand Marcos declared a Martial Law which consumed a big space in the country’s vast array of historical events.
With the onset of the Martial Law in Mindanao, what will become of the island and its people? Will it bring peace or will it bring more conflicts to the land of promise?
The grounds for declaring Martial Law is provided by Article 7, Section 18 of the Philippine Constitution where it stated that president has the power to declare martial law if and only if there is invasion, rebellion, and when public safety requires it in a particular area in the country. The provision of the law was what President Duterte used to carry out a declaration of Martial Law to the whole island of Mindanao. No matter how good the President’s intentions are, his declaration of Martial Law will not be legally recognized without the approval of the Congress within 48 hours after its declaration. The Congress, upon the majority of its members’ vote, may revoke the proclamation of Martial Law as well as its suspension which the President should take into account for his next move after the Congress has made the decision.
The Supreme Court, as the highest legal legal court of the land, can also provide its interventions If the congress gave its affirmation of the Martial Law, the Supreme Court then reviews and decides on its faith whether it has the legal and rightful basis or not within 30 days after confirmation. The same process goes when a citizen files a case against the Martial Law declaration.
On citizen’s right
Given the forceful and speedy disposition of the declaration of the Martial Law, many were eventually alarmed that the President will take advantage of the situation and use it to impose his own rules overthrowing the laws of the country. However, this may not be the case. Under the provisions stated in the constitution under the declaration of a martial law that it will not in any way “suspend the operation of the constitution” and all the laws that are currently in place shall not be suspended under the President’s Martial Law.
It is also provided by the constitution that the martial law shall never made any addition to the functions of any civil court and legislative assemblies and therefore especially to the advantage of the authors of the martial law. It is therefore understood that any legal decisions and judgements made by the military over civilians shall not be recognized as legitimate.
The suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be allowed automatically under martial law. As such, it will only be allowed to individuals who are “…judicially charged with rebellion or offenses related to invasion..” and not to any citizen whose status does not fall under the criteria even in the midst of martial law.
However, the suspension allows the release of anyone who will be found guilty of orchestrating rebellion and invasion or is a threat to public safety three days after no case is filed against the person. This may sound a good treat to some but definitely not to the majority as it will only make those who will be found guilty to be complacent. It may also mean that if there is nobody who will file a case to captured suspected terrorists and even abusive military personnel would mean their immediate freedom from jail and would go on with their unlawful activities.
Retainment of Martial Law
Perhaps, one of the frequent case scenarios seen by the normal citizens is that the Martial Law will continue to be in place even after the attacks have been stopped and the violence have been neutralized. The duration of martial law as stated in the constitution is 60 days within its declaration and can only be extended if the Congress will grant its extension upon the President’s request. The constitution also assured that the extension shall only be requested upon by the President and shall only be approved by the Congress if invasion or rebellion still remain and that public safety is still at stake.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law to the whole islands of Mindanao can only mean that we are in a time when everybody needs to be aware and resuscitate the Filipino spirit of being helpful to anybody in need of help. There is more to Mindanao than how it is being described as a war-stricken land. We only need to work together towards the resolution of our conflicts to prevent another martial law to happen.
Source: Assortedge Facebook Page