PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the whole island of Mindanao. This development came after the Maute group attacked a hospital, burned a school and a jail facility in Marawi City. The declaration came at around 11 p.m. of May 23, 2017.
After such declaration, “chaos and panic” came from all corners of the country. Prayers for peace in Marawi are called from here and there. Solidarity with the people is on social media. All these are now visible for the conflict is near us and is in our midst. The fear that martial law will curtail our rights and our convenience is there. This is the real time for every Filipino to face the realities of the world and stop existing in the world of politics and wonder.
On the third week of September of 1972, then President Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under martial law through Proclamation 1081. Marcos had all suspected lawless elements put to jail or “stockade.” The rights to be heard in courts of law and to be present during trials (habeas corpus) were suspended by Marcos. It was declared and concurred by Congress. Philippine Martial law stayed with us for almost 10 years and was only lifted in January of 1981. It really disciplined the Filipino nation, but it also paved the way to create abusive military officers, corrupt politicians and oppressed people. The military (Philippine Constabulary and Army) thought they were gods. The unscrupulous politicians (cronies) thought they owned everything. The poor Filipino cannot do anything for the government had all the answers to his wondering mind.
The next president to declare a latent martial law was Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo. She placed Maguindanao Province under martial rule through Proclamation 1959 on December 4, 2009. It showed Mindanao as a diorama of violence and conflict, a land of war and of bandits. It was silently done that it provided her emergency powers. It was an acid test or a prelude to a nationwide martial law, but there was great opposition thus, it was lifted on December 13, 2009.
Other Presidents during the Spanish colonial times, the American era, and the Japanese occupation, declared martial in the country, but it was considered a military ruling of the colony. Martial law then was different.
What I fear today is that Duterte and his “Dobermans” already painted a good 3D picture of the Mindanao situation. Most Filipinos will likely believe that the declaration would merit common welfare. Duterte was always declaring that he will declare martial law, if the drug menace continues. But now it is terrorism that is attacking his government.
A selective martial could be the acid test for a total martial law. Of course, in Ethics, we need to see both sides of the coin before we make judgements. In the Philippines, should this act become successful, then it will become a total declaration.
Let us pray that God continues to walk with us in our journey towards the truth.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod, St. Ezekiel Moreno, Pope St. John Paul II, Mons. John Liu and Su, Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR and Fr. Loreto Dacanay, OAR, Manoy Bill and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 27, 2017.
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