Saturday, December 05, 2009

Martial law in Maguindanao

Well, she's finally done it: GMA has declared martial law in Maguindanao. As I write this, Ermita, Remonde, Verzola, and Ibrado are conducting a conference with the Malacanang Press Corps, broadcast through NBN. Ostensibly, this follows as a response to the Ampatuan massacre. Several members of the Ampatuan clan have already been "invited" for questioning.

My comments:
  • As Ermita has read several times from the Constitution, martial law can be declared in cases of "invasion or rebellion." Are we in a state of invasion? Of rebellion?
  • Ermita was very careful to say that martial law only applied to "GRP-controlled" areas, not to areas controlled by the MILF.
  • Ermita further justifies the declaration by pointing to the inability of the courts and other government structures to function.
  • Declaring it on Saturday morning gives them 48 to 72 hours without interference from congress, unless congress convenes a special session.

    This declaration of martial law is illegal and unconstitutional.

    Overall, this highlights government weakness rather than strength. The situation is not one of rebellion or invasion but of lawlessness. And this is a lawlessness that this administration has permitted, even encouraged and sanctioned (see EO 546).

    Question: how will this eventually make its way back to the election anomalies of 2004?