Sunday, December 6, 2009

Some Points To Consider

Here's an excerpt from "Martial Law is Not a Substitute for Competent Police Work: Statement on the Reported Proclamation of Martial Law in Maguindanao," the 5 December 2009 statement of UP College of Law dean Marvic Leonen regarding the issue du jour:
Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law can only be declared in cases of invasion or rebellion and only when public safety demands it. Rebellion requires that there is at least a taking up of arms publicly directed against an existing government. Martial law cannot be declared because the state has failed to prevent massive human rights violations by leaders that the national government itself has nurtured. Martial law cannot be proclaimed to cover up the lack of professional competence in the gathering, preservation, evaluation of evidence and in the arrest and detention of the perpetrators. Martial law is also not the proper legal response to the issuance of a writ of amparo in favor of the Ampatuan family.

A report on how the proclamation was executed must be made within 48 hours of its proclamation to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress must convene within 24 hours after it is proclaimed. Any proclamation of martial law by the President can only have a maximum effectivity of 60 days. This can be revoked (or extended) by Congress. Any revocation by Congress cannot be overturned by the President. In case martial law has been proclaimed, the electoral ambitions of all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate should be put aside so that they can observe their obligations required in the Constitution.

The proclamation of martial law does not supplant the civilian bureaucracy. It does not supplant the operation of the Constitution including its provisions for the protection of individual and collective rights. It does not supplant the operations of local government nor the fact that local governance is subject to existing law. Martial law does not automatically suspend the writ of habeas corpus or justify illegal arrests and detention. In other words, it is not authority for the Commander in Chief or the military to replace civilian government. Certainly, the public should be encouraged to engage the courts should there be any violation of any provision of law or the constitution.

Full article...
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Sophistry.

Up until a few minutes ago I didn't know the exact meaning of that word ("subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation), but it was the first that came to mind after reading Proclamation No. 1959, which declared a state of martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao.

The Office of the Press Secretary's online copy of the Proclamation mistakenly cites an innocuous law—Republic Act No. 6986, "An Act Establishing a High School in Barangay Dulop, Municipality of Dumingag, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, to be Known as the Dulop High School, and Appropriating Funds Therefor"—as basis for its definition of rebellion or insurrection. It also identifies the rebel group MILF as the "Motor Islamic Liberation Front."

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