Martial law, right or wrong: depends on how it is implemented
In his column Eagle Eyes (30 May 2017), Professor Tony La Viña ponders on the rightness of Proclamation No. 216 dated 23 May 2017 issued by President Duterte. Along with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the writer offers the opinion: “It depends.” The Proclamation declares a state of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus throughout Mindanao.
La Viña writes that although he does not see sufficient factual basis for declaring martial law — based on his reading of the President’s report and text of the proclamation — he is willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt on his decision to so declare, for “we live in uncertain times.”
What lawyer La Viña would like to happen is that Congress meet in joint session to review the declaration as decreed in the Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2012 case of Colmenares v. Arroyo.
Professor La Viña makes a case for the martial law declaration, under certain conditions. One such condition is that the Executive arm of government, which includes all the law and order departments of government, will abide by the Constitution and the laws even while martial law is in place. He cites the CJ’s hope, when she delivered the keynote address at the Ateneo de Manila graduation last week, that with proper implementation, martial rule “should not by itself unduly burden our country.”