Blog Lecture No. 10: Martial Law

Ok class! For this lecture, you may lose your lunches…let’s talk about martial law…

Declaring martial law under the 1987 Constitution is not the same as the one used by Marcos (under the 1935 Constitution). The martial law provisions now are limited in scope and duration and laden with a lot of checks and balances from the other branches of government.

As our law school teachers have all said, the 1987 Martial Law provisions are all reactionary to what Marcos did, to ensure what happened then will never happen again. It also reversed all Supreme Court decisions pertaining to this power made during Marcos time.

The pertinent provisions in Article VII of the 1987 Constitution state:

Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or the 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 suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

What is martial law?

Simply put, this is military rule. The President acts as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

What are the salient features of martial law today?

1. Period of martial law is limited to 60 days.

2. The power is granted to the President in cases of invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it.

3. The President has to submit written report to Congress within 48 hours from proclamation.

4. Congress has the power to revoke or extend the proclamation by a vote of majority of all members, voting jointly. (This means 50% plus one of House members and Senators.)

5. Propriety of the declaration is always subject to review of Supreme Court and it must decide within 30 days from filing.

How is this different from suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus?

OMG! You’re psychic! How did you know the topic of my next blog lecture?


1 Comment

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One response to “Blog Lecture No. 10: Martial Law

  1. ang hirap arukin, your honor! 🙂

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