GMA Declares ‘Limited’ Martial Law in Maguindanao;Gilbert Teodoro, The Ampatuan Arms Stockpile, And The Maguindanao Massacre (Retitled/Updated)
The buck stops with the President.
So news is now breaking that Pres. Arroyo is formally placing Maguindanao under a limited state of martial law, including a suspension on the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (thus authorizing warrantless arrests).
Executive Secretary Eduarda has just read out on state television the text of Executive Order 1959 which invokes the Constitution’s ‘commander-in-chief provision of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:
1959 maguindanao limited to certain areas not exceeding 60 days commNDER IN
ARTICLE VII Executive Department
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 or the extension thereof, and must 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 where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
The suspension of the privilege of the writ 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, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.
Executive Secretary Ermita clarified howeverb that the martial law declaration in Maguindanao does not include MILF areas as specified in the existing GRP-MILF ceasefire agreement.
This puts an official character to what has actually prevailed in the area this past week.
It has also just been reported by DZMM radio that Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Senior has been arrested.
This is specially true in the Philippines, and most particularly in the nearly 9 years Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been running our lives.
But in this horrendous unearthing of guns and ammo enough to outfit a combat-ready brigade in Sariff Aguak, Maguindanao, it is most definitely erstwhile Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who should be on the carpet.
As it is now coming to light, Teodoro (the administration presidential standard bearer in next year’s elections) failed not only to dismantle private armies such as those of the Ampatuans.
But quite blithely he told the presidential forum over ABS-CBN several days ago that during his 3-year-stay at the DND “we ran a tight ship and checked corruption.”
Now Malacanang is trying to cover its tracks by forming a commission to “probe the Maguindanao massacre and dismantle all private armies.”
The dismantling of private armies is a mandate enshrined in the Constitution.
So what we are really being told is the government of the day waited for a tragedy not unlike the August 1998 Rwandan massacre to comply with its constitutional duty.
Making this ‘confession’, Malacanang even expects Filipinos to elect its chosen ‘presidentiable’!!!
Further details of the action Malacanang announced 4 hours ago;
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado:
Joint police and military teams have taken into custody Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his son, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan. Ampatuan Sr. was brought to a hospital in Davao City, while the ARMM governor was brought to General Santos City. Maguindanao Vice Governor Akmad Ampatuan Sr. and Shariff Aguak Mayor Anwar Ampatuan have also been taken into custody. There are now five Ampatuans under government custody, including Datu Unsay town Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who has been charged with 25 counts of murder for the massacre.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita:
President Arroyo decided to declare martial law because “heavily armed groups in the province of Maguindanao have established positions to resist government troops, thereby depriving the executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety. Despite the state of emergency declared last November 24, peace and order in the province continued to deteriorate “to the extent that local judicial system and other government mechanisms are not functioning.”
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde:
Pres. Arroyo will immediately lift the proclamation once the police has confirmed that its investigation can push through “unimpeded and unfettered.”
Quite exp ectedly, critocs are starting to weigh in against “the possible dire implications of Pres. Arroyo’s action just 5 months before the election.
Congress is not in session and what is likely is civil libertations will bring the matter up to the Supreme Court.
We need to call to mind the words of Thomas Jwfferson:
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. by Thomas Jefferson