Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What Is Stopping Rodrigo Duterte From Declaring Martial Law Over The Philippines?

Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law over the whole of Mindanao. What's stopping him from declaring it over the whole of the country?Marawi City is just an 87 square kilometer area of muslim mindanao. Why not just declare martial law over the city? If the overwhelming reason is the security threat posed by the Maute group, then it would be logical to suppose that the whole of the country is threatened by terrorism. Terrorism of course, isn't enough reason to declare Martial law. The Constitution lists, rebellion and invasion as reasons for Martial Law not terrorism. Read Article VII Section 18 of the Philippine Constitution. It could be supposed also that the Maute group has international links to a foreign terrorist group, but not a foreign power or state. It's problematic to argue that IS or Islamic State is officially a state.

Martial law was declared in 1944 by Jose Laurel, during The Liberation, saying the US and the Philippines were at war. Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial law in 1972 after making up an excuse in the form of a rising Communist Rebellion. Gloria Arroyo declared a 9 day Martial law limited only in the province of Maguindanao, after 58 persons including 34 journalists were killed in a massacre related to local politics. It is clear that when leaders declare martial laws, they are owning up to their own failures, to their own realization that somehow they have made a mistake.

What are the conditions that clearly calls for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus? When is it obvious that martial law is justified as seen by the average citizen? An escalation of violence and lawlessness, civilian authority unable to impose its rule, a great disaster where military aid is required to save lives and of course the constitutional conditions of rebellion and invasion. Let us not forget that leaders impose martial law as preventive measure. What kind of leader are you if you let civilian rule collapse in front of your eyes? So the act of declaring martial law becomes a political game of chess - to know succeeding moves.

In the period after the EDSA revolution, Corazon Aquino, endured 10 military rebellions. With freedom comes great challenges to her administration. She also faces an economy in disarray, infrastructure that languished unattended during the Marcos administration, political restructuring from the local level up to Congress and Judiciary. Her inherited military was unaccustom to democratic nuances and did not trust her, the wife of a former military-held politician. Aquino did not declare martial law even as the rebellion reached the gates of her residence.

Abraham Lincoln imposed martial law in the United States during its civil war. He declared martial law against prisoners of war, spies, those who aid the enemy and draft dodgers. Interestingly, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Lincoln's martial law is unconstitutional in areas where the courts are still functioning.

Just after Duterte declared his martial law, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered that all courts in Mindanao should remain open. So what's stopping Rodrigo Duterte from imposing martial law over the entire Philippines?
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