Manila Bulletin, Dec 11 2009
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. Read the rest of this entry »
In recent days, military raids in Maguindanao have revealed much more than high-caliber firearms; the raids have made public 16 homes in Davao City and 14 mansions in Maguindanao, all belonging to the Ampatuans.
While the Ampatuans wallow in splendor and grandeur, their constituents suffer the hardship of squalor and poverty that is prevalent in the third poorest province in the country.
The question is, where did all this wealth come from? Gov. Andal Ampatuan’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) for 2002 shows only a net worth of P11 million. As public servants, Gov. Ampatuan and the rest of his family must answer to the people for amassing a suspicious amount of wealth while in power. Read the rest of this entry »
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?
by Carlos Garchitorena
Ring the bells. Martial law has once again sounded throughout the land.
In unprecedented violence, disregard for human dignity, and the peace of mind that only comes with impunity, the unearthing of the Maguindanao Massacre is the latest open secret of this administration.
Fifty-seven bodies and the tangled steel of their cars were lifted from the ground—televised evidence that, in this land, brute force still prevails. Might is right. Power begets power.
Unsurprisingly, Mrs Arroyo has replied in similar fashion; brute force; the iron fist; extraordinary means to contain an extraordinary embarrassment. The Maguindanao Massacre and the resulting Proclamation 1959 is the clearest indictment of Mrs Arroyo and her fictitious Matatag na Republika.
The illusion of a nation-state accountable for its citizens has been undermined for the last time. It has been undermined by toothless laws and propagandist decrees; by the intellectual dishonesty of some, and the brazen ignorance of others, and the political impotence of the rest. The nation-state has been weakened by the constant coddling of criminals inside and outside the moth-eaten blanket of presidential authority.
Nobody is held accountable for our country’s ineffectiveness anymore. Senate and congressional inquiries are snubbed and suppressed; motions for impeachment are designed specifically to fail; and everyone who plays along gets a goody bag at the end of the day. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE LIBERAL PARTY
05 December 2009
(Sen. Noynoy Aquino reads the official LP statement on the proclamation of Martial Law in Maguindanao)
QUESTION AND ANSWER
Q: What will be the LP’s move to question the declaration?
NOYNOY: Merong constitutional mandate ito. And one of the safeguards so that we do not have a Martial Law perpetuated on us like in 1972 is that Congress has the ability to provide the check and the balance. So, Congress receives the declaration from the President of why Martial Law was imposed in the country or parts thereof. We review the factual basis then we decide on whether to continue with that imposition or to rescind it. And she cannot set that aside, she has to follow the dictates of Congress. That is the immediate step.
And of course, going to the Supreme Court is another avenue. Any citizen can (go) before the Supreme Court to determine the factual basis for the imposition. So it follows, if there is no factual basis, the imposition can be declared null and void.
Q: Are you in favor of the lifting of martial law? Read the rest of this entry »