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Presidential Proclamation 216 Declaring Martial Law in Mindanao

I. Rationale

Martial law is referred as the imposition of a leader, which is usually the highest ranked

military officer, head of government like president, or military governor. This means that the

leader has the power to remove or terminate all the powers of legislative, executive and judicial

branches of the government. Declaration of Martial law can either temporary or permanent,

depending on the decisive action by the leader.

Under Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the president has the power to

place the entire country, or any part of it, under martial law, when there is an invasion of the

Philippines, or when there is rebellion taking place. The Constitution also explicitly provides that

when martial law is resorted to, public safety must demand it, for a period not exceeding sixty

day.Martial law therefore, is to be invoked in those cases where the very existence of the State is

threatened. It is premised, upon the principle that the state has a right to defend itself and rests

on the proposition that every state possesses the power of self-preservation. Martial law has

been characterized as the public right of self-defense against a danger to the order or the

existence of the state.

Moreover, the power of the president to declare martial law is hemmed about with

restrictions and limitations. There are conditions which must be met before it can be imposed.

The power given to the President only when those conditions of actual invasion or rebellion (not

merely imminent danger thereof) are met, and only when public safety requires it. The President

can only impose martial law for a period up to sixty days. Marital law can only extend beyond

those sixty days by the joint vote of Congress.

Also under our Constitution, the Supreme Court is given unquestioned authority to

review the sufficiency of factual basis of the proclamation of martial law. This means that the

Supreme Court has the power to determine that there was insufficient factual basis for martial

law and to strike it down. The Supreme Court can rule that there is no actual invasion or

rebellion or that public safety does not require martial law. Any citizen can file a case against the

Presidents declaration of martial law. To ensure that the question is resolved quickly, the

Constitution requires that the Supreme Court must promulgate its decision within thirty days

from the filing of the case.

On May 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 which placed

the entire island of Mindanao under martial law due to rampant lawlessness in Mindanao

particularly in MarawiCity,in accordance with Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao Island amid the

ongoing clashes between government troops and Maute group terrorists in Marawi City. Martial

law was in place for a maximum of 60 days, as stipulated in the Constitution, on the grounds of

resistance and rebellion.

The Supreme Court ruled the Martial Law as valid for there were sufficient factual bases

for the proclamation of Martial Law on the basis that there were (1) actual rebellion, (2) public

safety requires it, and (3) probable cause for the President to believe that there is actual rebellion

or invasion. That, on July 22, 2017Duterte gets congressional approval to extend it until

December 31, 2017, therefore, President Rodrigo Duterte has the power to carry out martial law

until the end of the year 2017, aiming to solve the crisis in Marawi City where government

forces and the Maute terror group continue to fight and also the military wants to use the full

martial law period to quell threats in other parts of the region.

II. Discussion

The declaration of martial law was necessary "in order to suppress lawless violence,

rebellion, for public safety and stop terrorist. Terrorism is now one of the most problematic

security issues affecting the safety and prosperity of our country and rampant in our community,

declaring martial law is necessary to flush out all insurgents who are terrorizing the community

and responsible for provoking harm, intimidation and coercion to the peaceful society. Pres.

Duterte said the growing influence of Islamic State was one of the nations top security concerns,

and martial law was necessary to stop it. Martial law allows the president to call out the armed

forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, according to the


Martial Law can eradicate criminality. There will be quick command and control of huge

population since all civil laws and civil rights are suspended, thus, its neutralize all criminal

offenders responsible for risking the safety and impunity against the society.Restoration of peace

especially in M may indanao is one of the main issues why Martial Law has been declared so

that level of criminal rates can significantly go down and safeguard the welfare of the society. As

President Dutertes allies said that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao should help

authorities solve other problems like criminality in the region, though the threat of the Maute

group was confined to only a small part of it. The Maute group be confined to Lanao, but there

are other problems with regard to security and peace and order in other provinces. Declaring

Martial law in the entire Mindanao is just one decision to solve the other problems in other

However,the declaration of martial law is very prone to abuse of power and can lead to

human rights abuses for without civil laws to protect them;people have no protection against the

abuses of government.Critics fear martial law will give security forces cover to carry out human

rights abuses, citing the experience under Dictator Ferdinand Marcos a generation ago.

Further, the conflict in Marawi and the declaration of Martial Law have already caused

the economy slow down. The Peso weakened beyond the P50 against the US Dollar during the

days trading, but closed slightly higher barely breaking the P50 barrier.

III. Reaction

As a Mindanaoan, I believe that Presidents Dutertes leadership is what is needed to

bring peace and security in the region. The attack in Marawi was a clear case of rebellion, and to

preserve public safety in Mindanao and ensure that clashes do not spill over to other parts of the

island and the Philippines, President Duterte was correct in placing Mindanao under martial

law.Personally, I believe that Martial Law, despite its negative political implications on its

constitutionality and proneness to abuse of power, would calm down the volatile situation in


Further, the Supreme Court found that there were sufficient factual basis in Proclamation

216 as proving that actual rebellion exists:

1. The Maute Group and other lawless armed groups are openly attempting to remove from

the allegiance of the Government this part of Mindanao, starting with the City of Marawi

and deprive the Chief Executive of his powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the

land and maintain public with the clear intention to established an Islamic State knows as

DAESH wilayat or province covering the entire Mindanao;

2. Cutting of vital lines of transportation and power; recruitment of young Muslim to further

expand their ranks and armed consolidation of their members throughout Marawi;

decimation of a segment of the city population who resist; brazen of DAEZH flags;

3. Pronounced difficulty of Law Enforcement and other government agencies in sending

their report to the Chief Executive due to city-wide power outages; preventing the BJMP

from performing their functions; attack and occupation of several hospitals, medical

services; bridge and road blockades effectively depriving the government of its ability to

deliver basic services, hampering troop reinforcement for restoration of peace and order

and hindering the movement of both civilians and government personnel to and from the


4. Network and alliance building activities among terrorist groups and lawless armed men to

attain their long standing goal of absolute control over the entirety of Mindanao.

It appears therefore that the declaration of ML in the part of the country has factual basis

going the parameters establish by the SC.

Further, I believe that the extension of martial law is essential to the overall peace and

stability. The rebellion in Marawi continues to persist and we want to stop the spread of the evil

ideology of terrorism and free the people of Mindanao from the tyranny of lawlessness and

violent extremism. Lets give Duterte the chance to end the Marawi crisis and neutralize the

Maute group and restore peace and order there once and for all. The extension of martial law is

the only way to do that.

IV. Recommendation

In order for martial law to be a positive experience, our institutions need to work together

to ensure that rights are protected and abuses are prevented. It is not enough to trust the President

and military to do the right thing.

Congress must be pro-active by monitoring the implementation of martial law rules on

the people. Under Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the President must submit a

report in person or in written form to Congress within 48 hours of declaring martial law. It would

be necessary to establish a bicameral monitoring system that Congress could use to make sure

the limits laid down by the Constitution on the exercise of martial law powers are followed. The

work of that bicameral entity could also be the basis of a decision to terminate the state of martial

law earlier or to extend it after sixty days.

The Supreme Court must scrutinized the factual basis of the declaration and lay down

guidance on what exactly are the powers allowed under martial law.

In addition, the military and police must exercise self-restraint; otherwise, martial rule

will instead of defeating it contribute to the growth of rebellion as it did during the Marcos years.

V. Reference

Bernas , Joaquin (2009). The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines : A


Britanico, Atty. Francesco. Martial Law under the 1987 Constitution | Lawyers in the Philippines



Cruz, Isagani (2002). Philippine Political Law

Medina, Virtus. Pros and Cons vs Martial Law in Mindanao.

Available :


Relos, Gel S. Dutertes martial law in Mindanao: The pros and cons sides among Filipinos in

America. Available :


Romero, Flerida Ruth (1986) .Record of the Constitutional Commission : Proceedings and


Quisumbing, Leo. Philippine Law Journal, Vol. 60, 1985: Constitutional Control of the Electoral

Process and Political Parties.

Santos, Guillermo (1970). Martial Law : Nature, Principles and Administration

Sinco,Vicente (1962). Philippine Political Law : Principles and Concepts.11th ed.