Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas’s statement on Maguindanao Martial Law

STATEMENT OF SENATOR NOYNOY AQUINO AND SENATOR MAR ROXAS ON THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW IN MAGUINDANAO

We are alarmed at President Arroyo’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao and other parts of Mindanao ostensibly to enforce law and order in the area in the aftermath of the massacre of 57 innocent civilians by ardent supporters of this Administration.

The declaration of martial law does not make sense to us:

a. The recent government pronouncements have been that everything is under control:

i. The AFP, through its spokesperson Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, declared no more than four days ago that there is no need for the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao or elsewhere in the country because the AFP and PNP are on top of the situation.

ii. Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales declared no more than three days ago that the government’s effort to contain the tension in the province is holding ground.

iii. Ronaldo Puno, DILG secretary, said as late as last night that “no decision had been made” on the declaration of martial law, and suggested that queries be directed to Norberto Gonzales, acting DND secretary. What has changed since then?

b. There is no additional advantage to having a martial law regime – legally and militarily.

i. It does not strengthen the position of government to serve justice to the victims of the massacre. The declaration of martial law can even lead to changing the character of the crimes committed in Maguindanao:

1. The crimes allegedly committed are murder, rape, kidnapping and more. These capital crimes are non-bailable. In a state of martial law, these common crimes may be absorbed into the single crime of rebellion.

2. Except for its leaders, supporters of the rebellion are bailable …and worse all those charged with rebellion may be subject to amnesty. Are they laying the basis for a political solution to the crimes committed?

3. The other offenses of rape and mutilation are aggravating for a case of multiple murders (results in maximum penalties). These would be overtaken by the absorption into rebellion.

4. The only difference is 36 hours – presently an accused must be charged with capital offenses within 1 ½ days. Under martial law the accused must be charged within 3 days but only with the lesser crime of rebellion. Will this 36-hour difference provide sufficient substantial advantage to justify the imposing of martial law?

ii. Militarily, the forces are already on the ground. Martial law is not needed to call in additional troops as may be necessary.

So given no improvement in the position of the State, we ask WHY?

1. Is it to cover up the discovery of DND/PNP arms and ammunition in the Ampatuan compound proving government support for the warlords that have delivered questionable election victories to this administration in the past?

2. Is it to impose such overwhelming control so that there can be no leaks of information and suppress evidence of electoral fraud and other crimes?

3. Is it meant to re-establish control of the alleged massive electoral fraud machinery in time for the 2010 elections?

4. Is this a test case for implementing martial law rule in the entire country in order to perpetuate this administration in power indefinitely?

These are only some of the questions that beg answers.

The Constitution is clear: Martial law can only be declared upon the existence of an actual invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it.

Such grounds do not exist to justify the proclamation of martial law in the Province of Maguindanao.

What happened in Maguindanao was not a rebellion. There was no public uprising and taking-up of arms against the government.

There was no invasion or unlawful foreign military interference in Maguindanao.

Who has rebelled against whom? The Ampatuans are still considered allies of the Arroyo Administration. The arms found in their compound were government-issued. Given this relationship, how can there be rebellion?

We acknowledge that the gravity of the situation in Maguindanao required measures that would guarantee public safety.

We support the full enforcement of the law to restore and maintain order and give justice to the victims of the horrendous act that claimed the lives of innocent civilians, women and members of the media.

The President need not declare martial law.

She could have swiftly ordered that charges be filed against all those who carried out the lawless orders allegedly of Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr.

She could have directed that all those charged be preventively suspended.

She could have ensured the filing of non-bailable charges like multiple murder and allowed the succession of local officials under the Local Government Code take effect.

The people must demand an explanation of the circumstances that led the administration to resort to this action, how the President intends to use its vast powers, and for how long.

The rule of law must prevail; constitutional processes must prevail. The courts cannot be abolished there or elsewhere. The President of the Philippines remains accountable not only to the Congress of the Philippines, but to the People of the Philippines for taking this course.

We must also demand that both houses of Congress meet, as required by the Constitution, within 24 hours of a martial law declaration, without need of the President making a call for Congress to convene.

We appeal to our colleagues in Congress to come together immediately and ascertain the validity of this imposition.
Congress must muster a quorum. Congress must not be a rubber stamp. Congress must ask the right questions, and it must act now.

This is a time for all our people to be sober, discerning, vigilant and unafraid.

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22 Responses so far

  1. 1

    nemhie08 said,

    everybody is right those who oppose martial law, for what reason andyan na lahat ebedensya bakit takot si gma mag sabi na hulihin lahat ang ampatuan at ikulong habang iniimbistigan,alangan naman naglakad mga bala at guns don sa hukay at san kumuha ng millions ang mga yan ipatayo ng mga mansion magkano ba sweldo ng mga yan kung walang mga anomalya centavo na lang na dapat para sa mahirap tulad ko ibinulsa pa nila kapal nila what a corrupt demons they are. sila dapat tinatadtad ng bala.

  2. 2

    sychitpin said,

    once again GMA has proven her deceitful ways, it is always advisable to prepare for the worst while doing ones best in fighting evil, sometimes poison is also the cure for poison, offense is the best defense

  3. 3

    knightone0 said,

    Apparently, the Ampatuans will be charged for rebellion, according to the DoJ chief [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20091206-240421/Rebellion-raps-vs-AmpatuansDoJ-chief], can the defense in the massacre case put up the defense that the massacre is merely a part of their rebellion, thus not punishable as a crime of murder, rape, etc.? Such a political sleight-of-the-hand to protect a political ally sickens my gut.

  4. 4

    sychitpin said,

    it is always wise and prudent not to believe anything gma and her cohorts say or do……..gma was the queen of lies , deceit, fraud, backstabbing, intrigue and corruption..

  5. 6

    ellen mariano said,

    ang hirap talagang mag speculate, ang kaso mo, masyado na tayong dinala/pinaso ni GMA sa mga nakaraan nyang pag sisinungaling sa bayan. She has left us no choice but to always be wary of everything she says or do, any movement from her is always viewed with doubt.. kasalanan ba natin yon? I don’t think so, Si GMA ang nagturo sa atin na wag na siyang pagkatiwalaan pa!

  6. 7

    sychitpin said,

    1.its time to file cases questioning the illegal martial law declaration in the supreme court, in international court, the UN, and other legal forum

    2.this is an excellent opportunity to find out who are the genuine opposition candidate and who are just pretending to be opposition candidates , who are for the people and who are just protecting vested interest, by organizing press conferences to be attended by all presidential candidates to state their position and views about the illegal martial law declaration,

    3.organize Prayer rally for peace and honest election

  7. 8

    sychitpin said,

    the declaration of martial law is clearly without basis and illegal

    the SC Justice Nachura ruling allowing appointed officials to run was grossly unfair and unethical, Justice Antonio Carpio is correct in saying that “it is a disaster waiting to happen..”

    the running for congress by gma without resigning from presidency was absolutely unfair, unethical,

    shameless, unpresidential and foolish

    the ampatuans must be charged with multiple counts of murders , they can not be charged with rebellion for the simple reason that there was no rebellion to speak of, the ampatuans did not attempt to overthrow the gov’t, because they were in fact the gov’t in their province, the ampatuans killed 57 civilians belonging to their rival clan

    gma showed her weakness and incomptence in not being able to control the ampatuans who were her very close friends and political allies

    constitution said: “sovereignty resides in the people and all authority emanates from them…” therefore if the authority entrusted to a public servant like the president was continuously abused and the trust blatantly betrayed with impunity, the people has the right and duty to recall said authority that was vested to a very bad president , in order to protect the democratic institution and preserve peace and integrity of the nation……

  8. 9

    RubenTayco said,

    The Ampatuans will challege the declaration of martial law in the supreme court. And since arroyo has no legal basis for such declaration, martial will be repelled, and since the weapons from the ampatuans were dug up under the illegal martial law, such evidences will not be admissable in court. So, walang evidence. Kung walang evidence, walang kaso. mabuhay ang mag ampatuan! mabuhay si arroyo.

  9. 10

    msr said,

    “The Constitution is clear: Martial law can only be declared upon the existence of an actual invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it.”

    Honorable Senators, there is no violation of GMA declaring Martial Law since that constitution said “..when public safety requires it.” It is no safety in that place in Maguindanao since Ampatuans does not only holds their own private army, but battalions of supporters be it MILF, Abu Sayaff..etc..

  10. 11

    sychitpin said,

    martial law declaration will present a big opportunity to UNITE political parties and all sectors of the society against gma’s administration, OFFENSE IS ALSO THE BEST DEFENSE ! Filing of case against gma by Congresswomen Riza Hontiveros to stop gma from running is a good move, more cases could be filed by other groups against gma …

  11. 12

    Anonymous said,

    It just show that GMA will do anything she wants, whatever she wants and whenever she wants without the concent of the people… We are not blind not to see that it’s against the constitution it’s clearly no doubt there is no rebellion or invasion in that case puro speculations and assuming na mangyari… hay… Talagang binaboy na nya ang constitution kasama ang mga tuta nya sa congress… Even by declaring martial law she don’t have the guts to announce it publicly because she knows the more she will be humilated and be disgusted. She is addicted to power and she will do anything to stay with it. Am tired of what’s happening to our country and it’s time for a change we must act now or forever we will suffer…

  12. 13

    sychitpin said,

    maguindanao martial law shows the incompetence of gov’t in handling political feud perpetrated by close allies of gma. During Pres. Cory’s time, 9 failed coups or actual rebellion reaching the gate of malacanang did not scare pres. Cory and she did not declare martial law, now political violence committed by close friend of gma is being used as excuse for declaration of an illegal and unconstitutional martial law, sending negative signals to the international community.

    as expected , gma will not go out peacefully, she chooses to go down the tragic way

  13. 14

    sychitpin said,

    9 years of pussy footing with the ampatuans resulted to the creation of a monster clan in maguindanao, while maguindanao is the 2nd poorest province in the phil, the monster clan was one of the richest clan nationwide

    a monster president has a monster friend, all in the monster family

  14. 15

    braveheart said,

    The kind of crime that the Ampatuans had committed is so serious that i myself think declaring martial law is somehow the last resort to disarm the many, one way of arming the military with amour to disarm dismantle the wicked army of the darkness.

    What makes martial law becomes an issue is that it was declared by a president who use lies to favor her stupidity.

    What i would like to invite is for the many from amongst the wise men of the country to run after the DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE as he self assessed his term in the Department to be the clean and honest administration “KONO” in the department.

    Why the truck loads of amunitions from “DND” government was transferred to ampatuans?
    this one of the serious points to consider, why?

    • 16

      Melvin said,

      As my FINAL take, I support the Martial Law declaration in Maguindanao …

      … provided that, the Multiple Murder Case for Maguindanao is independent to the Rebellion Charges, innocent civilian`s rights will be protected, freedom of press wont be suppressed, and that Martial Law will immediately cease as soon as possible (less than 60 days).

      In this stand, I agree with Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the new Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, who said suspicions behind the declaration of martial law should be set aside and allow government to handle the Maguindanao massacre,

      “Biases for and against the administration can befuddle the issue. We appeal for sobriety not to let wild speculations and conjectures fly, and, at the same time, we call for restraint on the part of the administrators of martial law to exercise restraint so as not to give people the reason to suspect of any hidden agenda behind the exercise” – Odchimar

      [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/12/09/09/cbcp-backs-martial-law-maguindanao]

      Furthermore, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo formerly said, politicians and media “from far away Manila” were not familiar with the social, political and cultural situation in Maguindanao.

      “They seem to think that the police and the military can easily go into an area and just arrest the suspected culprits. The complexity and the abnormality of the situation and the need for swift justice for 57 brutally massacred innocent civilians would dictate an extraordinary measure” – Quevedo

      “Martial law, as a last resort, may be necessary only for the decisive resolution of the problems in Maguindanao,” said the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

      [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20091207-240689/Archbishop-backs-short-martial-law-in-Maguindanao]

      In addition to that, Mindanao leaders back the Maguindanao Martial Law:

      “Maguindanao’s political climate needs martial law to suppress lawlessness, dismantle the private armies, level the playing field and allow the full exercise of civil liberties by its citizens,” Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez told reporters on Tuesday

      Dominguez was among six political leaders from Davao, Sulu, Basilan and Cotabato who went to Congress to convince lawmakers that martial law was urgently needed in Maguindanao.

      [http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2009/december/9/news3.isx&d=/2009/december/9]

      Even the Supreme Court has refrained from issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Presidential Proclamation No. 1959 (at least for now) to evaluate the situation properly.

      [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/12/08/09/no-tro-supreme-court-martial-law]

      Now let us put the whole picture into perspective, Maguindanao massacre … besides the brutal death of 57 innocent victims,

      “The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre.”

      [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maguindanao_massacre#cite_note-pdi-1]

      THE SINGLE DEADLIEST EVENT FOR JOURNALISTS IN HISTORY that raised national and international condemnation, and in that context, some exemptions to hasten Justice should be warranted!

      After the Maguindanao Martial law, the suspects for the Massacre were immediately arrested, more high-powered arms and ammos that can supply 3 battalions were recovered, more hard evidences for the massacre were uncovered (SUV, Police car sighted on crime scene), etc. These show the ‘good’ effects of Martial Rule in Maguindanao to hasten justice! [Note: No court in Maguindanao will issue warrants because of fear]

      Press in Maguindanao is also currently considered as an ‘ally’ of the military there, serving as witnesses during search operations of Ampatuan mansions for instance.

      And Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera assured the rebellion and multiple murder charges that the government is slapping on the patriarch are separate and should not affect each other.

      “[The rebellion charges] will proceed separately with the multiple murder charges. Magkaiba ‘yan (These are different). They are independent of each other,” Devanadera said, allaying fears that the murder charges would be “absorbed” once the rebellion charges are filed.

      [http://ph.news.yahoo.com/gma/20091208/tph-murder-case-vs-ampatuan-sr-will-stan-d6cd5cf.html]

      Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq. And ‘thanks’ to the Maguindanao Massacre, WE ARE NOW NUMBER ONE!

      Now, although Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas` opposition to Maguindanao Martial Law is a STRONG argument, SWIFT justice for the Maguindanao Massacre victims should be the FIRST priority; putting into account the peculiar social, political and cultural situation in Maguindanao. I would wholeheartedly commit to the pursuit of SWIFT justice for the weak and powerless victims mostly women and journalist in that massacre; to serve the common good; I support the Martial Law declaration in Maguindanao.

    • 17

      A very worthy question, braveheart.
      Last shipment was reportedly in June 2009.

  15. 18

    braveheart said,

    I would like to point out how S.O.C.O or scene of the crime operatives handle their part.

    1. S.O.C.O. went to the scene “WITHOUT” cadaver bag with them.
    2. They give opportunity for the insect such as Flies to land and transfer from one cadaver to the other, they are not so mindful of contamination and evolution of bacterias.
    3. Allowing armed groups to join the operation without proper and appropriate uniform as members of ARMY or PNP.

    Why the president can afford to build mansions and yet cannot better equipped government agencies with an appropriate if not the best equipment to effect their role as such.

    Ano ba yan?

    Braveheart – Dubai, U.A.E.

  16. 19

    DailyManila said,

    Granting the government did not use martial law and proceeded to gather evidence and look for witnesses, what could have been the steps the government should have taken to ensure:

    a) The perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice
    b) Not to start a new war in Maguindanao
    c) Ensure the protection of witnesses from the Ampatuans

    Knowing for a fact:

    – Maguindanao is the turf of the Ampatuans for almost(?) a decade
    – They are known to be ruthless and can kill anyone who gets in their way with impunity
    – They have more than 3,000 armed men under their control
    – Majority of the police force in Maguindanao were loyal to them
    – Majority of judges and prosecutors fear the Ampatuans

  17. 20

    braveheart said,

    In short the Ampatuans are stupid!!!!!

    Reason is they steal freedom and kill people,

    What about, the corrupt official like GMA?

    Take note: that whatever shortcoming in the Philippines it has an impact for Filipinos abroad.

    Braveheart – Dubai.

  18. 21

    sychitpin said,

    firstly , maguindanao martial law declaration was unconstitutional and therefore illegal

    secondly, maguindanao massacre could have been solved by a competent police agency and if PNP is not capable, the armed forces can be called upon to reinforce it, maguindanao massacre was committed by a single ampatuan clan, no less the political allies of gma

    thirdly, gma being the bogus president must not be allowed to violate the constitution and break the law for her own political plan

  19. 22

    sychitpin said,

    the military was already there and in control , therefore there was no need for ML, moreover ML should only be declared when there was ACTUAL INVASION OR REBELLION, both basis were also clearly absent ..
    in 2000, Pres Erap was able to overtake 50 MILF camps without declaring martial law, now gma resorted to violating the constitution by declaring martial law, because of crimes committed by her close friends ……
    the illegal ML cemented the reputation of gma as the worst president of the phil …..

    gma should not be allowed to use maguindanao massacre as an excuse to violate the constitution by an illegal ML, its like a murderer breaking the law by killing his enemy, and justifying his crime by saying that he thought his enemy was going to hurt him..


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