Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas on the Lifting of Martial Law

Neutering Congress and the Supreme Court:
Statement of Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas on the Lifting of Martial Law in Maguindanao

This afternoon Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced that the President will lift martial law and the suspension of the writ in Maguindanao effective 9 PM tonight.

The Filipino people deserve praise for the vigilance and scrutiny they have exercised since the Maguindanao Massacre took place, and since the President imposed martial law. Public outrage and devotion to constitutional principles pushed Congress, in particularly the House of Representatives which was uninclined to even meet with the Senate, to assemble in joint session.

During the joint session we saw the government stumble and falter, proving itself willfully ignorant of the law and of the Constitution’s requirements. Focused and fearless reports by the media showed that much more was accomplished to obtain justice for the massacre victims by the Human Rights Commission and by the police and military before martial law was proclaimed.

However, let us not be carried away by feelings of relief over the lifting of martial law.

By this action, President Arroyo has deprived Congress of its constitutional mandate to exercise oversight. On cue from the Palace, the Speaker says he wants to adjourn the joint session reviewing the declaration of martial law thus sparing Malacañang from the scrutiny of its disastrous illegal misadventure. We believe the administration will make the same case when it comes to the Supreme Court, which was due to hear the government’s response on Monday, to the many cases questioning martial law.

As the President has done before, so she’s doing it again: she has pushed the envelope but withdrawn her controversial proclamations before anyone can actually render a verdict on their legality or wisdom.

The Supreme Court and Congress must continue to examine and pass judgment on this illegal martial law declaration in order to set the proper guidelines for the correct exercise of the President’s powers.



14 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Dom Rañises said,

    Mr. Aquino, Noy if I could call you that. I firmly believe in your will to change our country and to vanquish it of it’s corruption. But I have to agree with the Incumbent President Gloria Arroyo on this, Martial Law was necessary.

    I realize how offending this might sound, but Maguindanao was on the edge of rebellion. All though it was the Mangadadatus who were victimized, now, with the Ampatuans out of the way, I do not feel assured that Maguindanao can stay peaceful. The Mangadadatus and the Ampatuans are not the only powerful clans in the area. Other clans might feel like the government might be trying to capture them and they might launch a rebellion, larger than any the Philippines has ever seen. Without Martial Law, we could not have obtained the near thousands of weapons that could have been used in a rebellion.

    Although I strongly oppose the idea of the Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, sometimes, it is necessary, which is why it has been allowed in the Constitution.

    No matter how vile and wrong the objectives of the President or her Cabinet or even members of the government may be, there is always a plausible reason for Martial Law.

    Even now as I write this, Ampatuan Loyalists may even be conspiring in mass groups to launch a rebellion or to even spring Zaldy Ampatuan from the NBI, and if a Mindanao-Wide rebellion occurs, without Martial Law being active, could result in catastrophic happenings.

    Noting that not only the Ampatuan Loyalists will join in the rebellion (If there ever is one) but also other large powerful clans, and maybe the MILF.

    So I feel that I am at a crossroads, 50:50, Martial Law or no Martial Law. If you have the time, I could truly appreciate it if you could shed some light on the mater.

  2. 2

    i from mindanao particularly davao….. i just want to remind our leaders to focus on the issue which is the maguindanao massacre in giving justice to the victims of the massacre.. in my opinion things are getting complicated you are not focusing anymore on the massacre… We want justice fast we dont want diversionary tactics.. we demand result fast…


    i will vote for you guys


  3. 3

    hello said,

    Please tell Sen. Kiko Pangilinan hi. He was my classmate in college and I have fond memories of him. I remember he was always absent in class for whatever reason, and since he didn’t know what was being discussed, he would sweet talk his female classmates so that he could borrow our notes. He didn’t put in the same amount of work as others who would diligently attend class, but he passed anyway, since he knew how to charm the professor and his classmates. And now he’s a senator. It figures. ( But my not so positive college experience is also why I’ve never voted for him).
    And that’s why I will probably note for Sen. Noynoy Aquino because I’m looking at his track record, and I see nothing in terms of accomplishments. His parents are both heroes(and bless them), but that’s about it. My comment will probably get deleted anyway since anything anti-Noynoy is considered sacrilege and a form of blasphemy these days.

  4. 4

    hello said,

    My sentence should have read: “And that’s why I will probably not vote for Sen. Noynoy…” .

  5. 5

    emy said,

    Please ask Mr. Aquino and Mr. Roxas to comment on the statements of Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo.

    (Quevedo) said that the criticism of martial law “is really based on total distrust of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

    “Survey after survey is paraded to say that this is the pulse of the people. The stand of small protesting ‘militant’ groups is given disproportionate media exposure,” Quevedo said.

    “In a very real sense, the extraordinary amount of media exposure that is given to the opposition in Manila provides a distorted view of the country as a whole,” he added.

  6. 6

    Itlog said,

    The things marial law has achieved in Maguindanao can be achieved with ordinary laws. It only takes for government, the military and the police to do their sworn duties and implement the laws. Had they done that in the first place, 57 lives would be with their families today preparing to celebrate Christmas and looking forward with renewed hope in the coming year. Alas, abuse of power, greed and incompetence of this government brutally snuffed out the lives of these human beings, slaughtered worse than pigs.

    This government doesn’t deserve any praises. The dead deserves justice! The living deserves a new and better government!

    • 7

      sychitpin said,

      i agree with you, in addition gov’t must face the bar of justice and public opinion for declaring an unconstitutional martial law. It is incumbent upon any leader to apply extreme caution and wisdom in exercising its prerogatives.

  7. 8

    eichs said,

    The Martial Law issue is not just about Maguindanao. If the declaration process is not checked and corrected, it will be an antecedent of how absolute power will be used in the future.

    I for one protests the declaration of martial law but that does not mean I don’t wish for justice for the massacre victims. As others have said, genuine enforcement of the law could have thwarted the butchering and is sufficient enough to put Maguindanao under control. Bringing in martial law did not speed up the incarceration of the perpetrators but even muddled the issue (that what happened is plain barbarism).

  8. 9

    regie oquendo said,

    i have yet to finalize whom i will be voting for in May, i believe my choices would either be you or Mr. Teodoro. Im leaning towards the latter these days. In the case of the Ampatuans and Martial law. I detest the questioning of its legality. Much emphasis is being given to the technicality of the matter but not too much to the matter with which it was declared for in the first place.

    Murderes were running about free in Maguindanao getting ready for heaven or hell; decide to be lax- they will get away and for sure government would be blamed for it, take the other side and pin down on them- government still is blamed….it was a damn if you do, damn if you dont situation and I for myself appreciated the quick and harsh action of the present government on the matter. I appreciate more the fact that they did this knowing full well that the opposition will get to grill them in media with an election year coming up.

    A decision had to be made, and the unpopular decision was taken because it was the right thing to do. why do i say it was the right decision? because the ampatuans are in jail now waiting to be tried (and no abuses were done during the period of martial law). Anything less than that would truly be the trevesty.

    I write this letter, because though i do not agree with the stance you took, i still believe that truly you are unblemished. I however question your ability to make tough decisions. When popularity should take a back seat to making the righteous decision, will you stand firm? When an opponenent makes the right decision, will you applaud because it was right or would you critisize to remain popular?

    I pray politics does not blur the difference between right and wrong


    regie oquendo

  9. 10

    Reece said,

    Mr. Noy, while you and your co-legislators were busy raising your public profiles by issuing statements, gunning for interview spots, holding one session after another, the President was also busy acting on her declaration, so by the time you were all finished talking, she was also done rounding up the arrests in Maguindanao.

    She made an unpopular decision that made her all the more unpopular, but while you were talking the talk, she was walking the walk. You placed priority on the technicality of the declaration over the actions that need to be taken. Much are like a doctor who wants to see proof of payment first before operating, in the meantime the patient is dying in front of him.

    Ang bagal ninyo kasi…panay ang dada, wala namang gawa.

  10. 11

    kong said,

    The problem I have with Sen. Noynoy and why I have a hard time convincing myself to vote for him is because his platform is based almost entirely on vilifying the administration. It’s all very foggy, motherhood statements about how awful GMA is. It’s all about pointing out the perceived defects and shortcoming and errors and goofs of the administration, but other than that- there is nothing really in his comments to indicate a concrete plan of action. He does not suggest any real, practical, usable solutions to the country’s ills. Take this statement about the Lifting of Martial Law- it’s nonstop criticism but there’s nothing in there to indicate how he plans to deal with the problem. It’s like trying to wade through a very angry bowl of marshmallow. It’s all fluff.

  11. 12

    sychitpin said,

    Warren Buffett, the 2nd richest man on earth said: “There are 3 criteria in evaluating a person, INTEGRITY, INTELLIGENCE AND ENERGY. Without integrity, intelligence and energy will only destroy the organization.”

  12. 13

    sychitpin said,

    there is no way that a political dispute between the ampatuan and mangudadatu clans, could be considered as a case of rebellion against the gov’t. Believing that as a looming rebellion would be the peak of ignorance and stupidity. Maguindanao martial law was clearly baseless and unconstitutional right from the start, gma’s commission of this bad precedent and grievous error warrants sanction

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