FAA OnLiNe

Monday, February 27, 2006

‘PROC. 1017 IS MARTIAL LAW’

IBP, CBCP lambast state of national emergency

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

President Gloria Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017 which put the country under a state of national emergency is martial law, no more, no less
This was the personal view of Atty. Hans Sayno, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter, as regards the controversial edict Ms. Arroyo issues last week following coup jitters in Metro Manila.
Sayno said the President’s use of the military “to prevent or suppress rebellion” as commander-in-chief of the AFP is a declaration of martial law.
“This is martial law because the President called on the AFP to quell the supposed coup plot. They only used the term state of national emergency because the constitution set many limitations in the declaring a martial law,” Sayno said.
Among the limitations for the declaration of a martial law, Sayno said, is for the President to ask Congressional approval and to report within 48 hours the justification and conditions of the country under martial rule.
“But three days after, President Arroyo has yet to report to Congress why she mobilized the military which a characteristic of martial law,” Sayno added.
The IBP chief said a state of national emergency can only be declared for economic reasons where the President is authorized to take over public utilities to protect public welfare.
Threats of physical takeover against media outlets that report “critical and seditious” events and information are also a form of overkill and overreaction on the part of the administration.
“Even if martial law is declared, the Constitution still guarantees that civil liberties will remain intact – the media will continue to report and people can still express their grievances in a peaceful manner,” Sayno said.
Sayno said various sectors will question Proclamation 1017 before the Supreme Court today.
OVERKILL
Jaro Archbishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Angel Lagdameo said Presidential Proclamation 1017 is “an overkill and an overreaction” on the part of the President.
Lagdameo said the state of national emergency may lead to serious violations of human rights and eventually plunge the country into martial law.
Lagdameo said he urged all Filipinos to “pray so that the state of national emergency will not last long.”
The CBCP head also reminded Ms. Arroyo that former president Cory Aquino did not put the country under a state of national emergency despite the series of coup attempts against the latter’s administration.
Even former president Fidel Ramos called Proclamation No. 1017 an “overreaction” on the part of President Arroyo.
He said that his support for the Chief Executive is “waning.”
After the declaration of state of national emergency, several personalities have been arrested like retired general Ramon Montaño, party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran while Brigadier General Danilo Lim, commander of the Army's elite First Scout Ranger, is restricted at Camp Aguinaldo.
Even media outlets were warden against reporting “seditious” information and to observe balanced journalism.
As if to show their seriousness in padlocking “anti-Arroyo” media outlets, PNP chief Arturo Lomibao said he will recommend to the President the taking over of the operations of the Daily Tribune, a staunch critic of the present administration. (Published in The Guardian-Iloilo City February 27, 2006)

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