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?

    1. Relating this to the last election is a given - after all, the Ampatuans ensured her statistically improbable landslide win throughout the province. Payback is a female type of canine

    2. There's a certain irony in that, when she finally declared martial law, it was against her own allies. One wonders just how they're likely to repay her.

      As I write this, I'm flipping back and forth between this comment box and an Inquirer article about how government forces claim that "a rebellion was in the making". Miserably trying to justify a knee-jerk move only after you make the proclamation... now we have to admit that that's more the president's style.

    3. From the beginning I've suspected they brought down martial law on Maguindanao because the Ampatuans threatened to squeal. What do you guys think?

    4. I'm fairly certain that the martial law declaration was a sincere (although overblown) gesture towards resolving the issue. Clamping down on the Ampatuans won't prevent them from squealing, and the president has less than a year in office, in any case.

      I think that this was done simply to let people know that they had complete control of the issue, that the murderers wouldn't get away with it, and that we all could go home and have a nice plate of cookies. Like anything that the administration has done so far, however, it was done without regard as to the social consequences... which is why we're now scribbling our comments here, wondering if we're looking at a Marcos-in-the-making.

    5. or maybe it's too neutralize the ampatuans AND have control of maguindanao when election time comes rolling around so they can control the votes sans the ampatuans. you know, have their cake and eat it too.