No To Proclamation 1959! No To Martial Law!
On Peace
Monday, 07 December 2009 14:34

Press Statement
December 7, 2009

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines calls on the Philippine Congress to reject Proclamation 1959 or the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao as it will only give unsurpassed power to a military and police force that has a long record of human rights violations, and as such will only exacerbate the worsening human rights situation in the country.

We believe that there is no factual or legal basis for the declaration of martial law. As the Chief Executive Gloria Arroyo have all the powers of state at her disposal. Arroyo can even call on the army as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure that the conduct of the investigation and arrest the suspects in the Maguindanao massacre will not be derailed by the actions of the supporters of Gov. Amapatuan and that peace and order shall prevail in Maguindanao even without the need for the declaration of martial law.

In our view the declaration of martial law only serves to undermine the search for truth and justice because the institution of military rule effectively renders inutile the authority of the civilian government and opens the possibility of subverting legal and judicial processes. As it was during the time of Marcos the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus will only give the military the de facto license to institute illegal search and seizures, warrantless arrests, and torture of innocent civilians.

While we stand firm with the families in their clamor for justice we feel that what is needed is to enforce the full force of the law and not martial law. What is needed is a fair and impartial investigation that will uphold the rights of both the accused and the victims and not a quick fix solution that relies on military might rather than civilian supremacy that is upheld by the Constitution and which is the basis of the authority of the duly constituted courts of law and other civilian authorities of government.

A day after the declaration of martial law several unconfirmed reports have been brought to our attention regarding cases of intimidation and threats of civilians by the military troops stationed in Maguindanao. In fact a huge forced evacuation of the civilian populace in Shariff Aguak and Ampatuan towns has been reported and which was caused by the fear of the civilian populace not of the supporters of Gov. Ampatuan but of the military troops.

As a human rights organization that was established during the Marcos dictatorship, TFDP raises our concern that the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao can be used as a precedent in justifying the possible implementation of a similar measure within other areas in the Philippines even here in Metro Manila.

It is in this light that we call on congress to be critical of the reasons presented by government in justifying the declaration of martial law and to uphold the Constitution of the Philippines and thwart any and all possible actions of the Gloria Administration to use Proclamation 1959 and the situation in Mindanao as a launch pad for her own devious political motives beyond 2010.

Peace and Justice must be based on principles respecting rights and liberties of people. Without respect for rights what we have is not peace but the deafening silence brought about by tyranny.  Not to the Proclamation 1959! No to Martial Law!

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Last Updated on Saturday, 31 July 2010 14:33

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