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Martial law

(Academic writing)


MANILA – The Palace on Wednesday released Proclamation No. 216, declaring a state of
martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

The proclamation, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Executive Secretary Salvador
Medialdea, cites passages from the 1987 Constitution and the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Republic Act No. 6968, which provide for the declaration of martial law by the country's
chief executive.

Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution says the president can suspend the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus or place the country or any part of it under martial law, "in case of invasion
or rebellion, when the public safety requires it."

Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, meanwhile defines rebellion or insurrection as "rising
and taking arms against the government."

Duterte on Tuesday declared a 60-day martial law in Mindanao due to the Maute group's attack
in Marawi City.

Following the attacks in Marawi City by the Islamic State-aligned Abu Sayyaf and Maute
Groups, the declaration of martial law in the Philippine region of Mindanao creates a
desperate situation for the people and the stability of Mindanao. Military operations and
repressive actions will more likely increase the extremist violence than subdue it.

Given the history of the Philippines and the abhorrent record of the Duterte
administration, as seen by his “war on drugs,” the return of martial law to Mindanao is
an ominous sign of the violence and bloodshed which will certainly follow. The potential
scale of the looming atrocities is buried at the crossroads of the history of the Islamic
extremism in the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte’s disregard for human
rights and the value of human life.

The current trend of government violence is seen through the war on drugs taking place
across the Philippines. The counter-narcotic operations, which have left
over 7,000 people slain across the country, have consisted of large-scale extrajudicial
killings and monetary payments based upon body count. This seemingly large number
of deaths becomes mind-blowing when put into the framework of violence escalation. Of
the 7,000 killings that have taken place since Duterte took office in June of last year,
2,500 were at the hands of the police. The number of police killings recorded for the first
half of 2016 was 68.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the president can declare martial law "in case of
invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it."

The president must also submit a report to Congress, whether in person or in writing,
within 48 hours of the declaration.

If Congress does not agree that martial law should be declared or the writ of habeas
corpus suspended, it can "voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its
members in regular or special session" revoke the proclamation or suspension.

No declaration of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus can last
for more than 60 days unless a majority in Congress, again voting jointly, votes to
extend it "if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it."

"A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor
supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the
conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil
courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ," the
constitution also says.

The entire Philippines has been under a state of national emergency since
the Davao City bombing in September 2016.

Since he came to power a year ago, Philippine President Rodrigo

Duterte’s obsession has been his brutal war against drug dealers and
users. Now he is facing a different fight. When Marawi hostilities broke
out, Duterte declared martial law for 60 days across Mindanao. “The
dream of the Maute Group, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS and its
flag, is to transform Mindanao into an Islamic state,” said Jose Calida,
solicitor-general of the Philippines. The situation has become so serious
that the U.S. is now involved. Washington no longer has military bases in
the Philippines.
But a 1951 mutual defense treaty allows the two governments to come to
the aid of each other, and more recent agreements have seen American
military personnel acting as advisers to Philippine forces, especially in
Mindanao and the adjacent Sulu archipelago, both hotbeds of
insurgency. On June 9, a U.S. Navy P3 Orion plane hovered in the cloudy
skies above Marawi providing surveillance support to Philippine ground
troops. A Philippine military spokesman later confirmed that the U.S.
was providing “non-combat assistance.”
Marawi is the latest front in what has been a recent surge of apparently
ISIS-linked attacks beyond the carnage in Iraq and Syria. These include:
a bloody late May assault on Coptic Christian pilgrims in Egypt; the
suicide bomber at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, the London
Bridge assailants the following week; twin suicide bomb attacks that
killed three policemen in Jakarta; and twin attacks in Tehran.
Marawi eclipses all those in deaths and duration. But perhaps its most
crucial significance is the potential for ISIS and its affiliates to grow and
spread in Southeast Asia, where many countries are Muslim-majority or
have sizable Muslim populations. At a recent security conference in
Singapore, the city state’s defense minister, Ng Eng Hen, said: “If the
situation [in Marawi] is allowed to escalate or entrench, it would pose
decades of problems … It can prove a pulling ground for would-be
ISIS and its affiliates have tagged Singapore as a target in jihadist
publications and videos and plotted two attacks on the city state,
according to a June 2017 government threat assessment report. The
second of these—a plan to launch a rocket at the massive Marina Bay
Sands waterfront resort—was foiled by authorities in Indonesia, where
the would-be attackers were based. Malaysia suffered its first ISIS attack
last June—a grenade injured eight people at a nightspot in the capital
Kuala Lumpur—and disrupted another seven plots in 2016.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, is particularly
concerned about ISIS using the southern Philippines as a gateway to
establish a foothold in Southeast Asia. The two countries are separated
by poorly policed waters through which militant extremists can flow. “It’s
easy to jump from Marawi to Indonesia,” Indonesia’s armed forces chief,
General Gatot Nurmantyo, told reporters in Jakarta on June 13.
Indonesia also knows what it’s like to be terrorized. In the early 2000s,
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a homegrown extremist group allied with al-
Qaeda and with cells in neighboring countries, was responsible for a
spate of attacks, the deadliest of which were the 2002 Bali bombings that
killed 202 people. Like the Mindanao militias, JI’s goal was an Islamic
state in Southeast Asia. Through a counter-terrorism offensive aided by
the U.S., Jakarta eventually broke JI. Now the danger is ISIS, or local
extremists inspired by ISIS. In January 2016 ISIS claimed responsibility
for a firefight in downtown Jakarta which killed two civilians and injured
20. “In almost every province [of Indonesia] there are already ISIS cells,”
General Nurmantyo told reporters. “But they are sleeper cells.”
Though estimates vary, only about 600 Indonesians are thought to be
fighting with ISIS in Syria, making them proportionately one of the least
represented nationalities—about two fighters for every million people,
compared to 27 for Denmark and 40 for Belgium. Even fewer Filipinos
are engaged in militant jihad overseas. A year ago local news
agency Rappler reported that just one Filipino fighter had been
confirmed in Syria. However, Indonesia, a secular democracy, is seeing a
rise of right-wing Islamist politicians and activists. A 2015 Pew
survey found that 4% of the population held a “favorable” view of ISIS.
That’s 10 million people. Says Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-
based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC): “The mistake [in
the Philippines] has been to see the danger as foreign fighters coming
from Iraq and Syria coming back. The problem is foreign fighters from
Indonesia and Malaysia, very close by, who’ve never set foot in Syria but
who are attracted by the struggle.”