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Are We Safe?

July 10, 2009

golez ermita chk points montage

The government is squelching double fears  about how secure Metro Manila is from urban terrorists or of events being manipulated to pave the way for emergency rule or even martial law.

The capital region’s police and military chief reversed news reports earlier quoting them as saying Al Qaeda-trained Moro  extremists had been spotted in the metropolis.

In goose-step fashion, both police director Roberto Rosales and major general Jogy Leo Fojas said their men were actually just on ‘heightened’ instead of ‘full’ alert though some 29 police check points were activated across the metropolis.


Asserting it is on top of the jittery situation, Malacanang took pains to calm the public with one of the deputy presidential spokespersons , medical doctor Anthony Golez citing the double safeguards in the Constitution: that any martial law edict must go through the two Houses of Congress and then to the Supreme Court.

Here is that constitutional proviso:

Section 18. 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. Within forty-eight 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.
The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any 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.
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.
The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.
During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

For good measure, Malacanang also tightened its messaging about the terror threats with the little president, Executive Secretary Eddie Ermita, now “the only one authorized to talk about the situation.”

Absent such official messages, Golez said, “those warning about emergency rule or the return of martial law are just engaging in black propaganda,” a dig at the warning  voiced out the other day by the ‘Hyatt Ten’ group of former GMA cabinet members now staunchly against her.

It’s just proper for Malacanang to put its act together as the week draws to a close, and as it awaits the Sunday visit of US Central Intelligence Agency director  Leon Panetta.

For ordinary citizens like this writer the pins and needles we feel won’t come off just yet despite the assurances.

I’d rather that we be genuinely assured by how authorities conduct state affairs and protects us from harm, while also keeping our Bill of Rights sacred.

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.
Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.
Section 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
Section 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
Section 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.
Section 11. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.

I’m committing the foregoing to memory, while reminding myself of this trusim:

The aim of art, the aim of a life, can only be to increase the sum of freedom and responsibility to be found in every man and in the world. It cannot, under any circumstances, be to reduce or suppress that freedom, even temporarily.– Albert Camus

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2009 10:36 am

    I think the threat is real and credible. I think Dulmatin and his JI pals are up to no good and want to open up the Philippines as a major front (perhaps using a Bali Bomb sized announcement) as a countervailing strategy to the Obama’s administration’s apparent setting of Indonesia as its “best practices” example.

    I will support the President against such terrible and nihilistic attacks. The Govt has had to fight terror with its hands tied behind its back by laws like HSA 2007–which is really a TERRORIST BILL OF RIGHTS

  2. July 10, 2009 11:49 am

    I am sure this is a motherhood issue, Manong.

    But methinks extremists of whatever political stripe should not be allowed to terrorize society.

    The issue of state-sponsored terrorism can never be condoned. … Read More

    Remember Marissa Roxas, Rebelyn Pitao, Jonas Burgos and the DDS.

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