Statement of Rep. Teofisto “TG” Guingona
on the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao
05 December 2009
I would like to reiterate my condemnation of the brutal and senseless Maguindanao massacre. Justice must be attained, and it must be attained swiftly. This can be resolutely attained under existing laws and will power on the part of the authorities, without a declaration of Martial Law. They have already suppressed any lawless violence and have already controlled the Ampatuans, as evidenced by the successful raid on their residence and the discovery and confiscation of their arms and ammunition. Again, the wolf has already been defanged. No need for Martial Law.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Martial Law can only be declared when two things are present: (1) the existence of ACTUAL invasion or rebellion, and (2) when public safety requires it. BUT there is no actual invasion or rebellion at the moment. The allegation in Proclamation 1959 that “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” IS UTTERLY WITHOUT FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASIS. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion WITHOUT DECLARING MARTIAL LAW AND WITHOUT SUSPENDING THE PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. Martial law poses a grave threat to our democracy and should not be taken lightly and should not be declared at the whim and paranoia of the present administration.
I would like to warn the public on the possibility that the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will exploit the situation in Maguindanao. Unlike the Martial Law imposition of President Marcos, which was done swiftly, in one blow, all over the country, there is a possibility of a “creeping” Martial Law by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We all know that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has proven her lust for remaining in power. What is to stop the administration from recreating disorder, violence, and chaos in other places, exploiting the sense of helplessness of civilians in dismantling warlords, thereby orchestrating widespread acceptance. Thereafter, they can put up a front of running after “KUNO” drug lords, jueteng lords, smugglers, oligarchs, etc., again as a strategy of gaining acceptance amongst the people and expanding the area of coverage of Martial Law.
I was around during the early days when Martial Law was declared by President Marcos. I vividly remember the initial feeling of stability and peace and order during those early days. The pattern seems to be repeating itself. One, create violence and chaos. Two, exploit the citizens’ helplessness in dealing with the violence and chaos. Three, declare Martial Law. History is repeating itself.