Friday, February 24, 2006

You can't do that

Gloria Arroyo effectively declared martial law without calling it such under Proclamation No. 1017 today.She just declared a “state of  emergency” (see Constitution, art. XII, sec. 17 which deals with national emergency that confers extraordinary economic powers on the Chief Executive), which does not entitle her to call out the armed forces (art. VII, sec. 18).  Yet, I just heard her do exactly that—by leaving it to the military and police to take care of things.As they say in Nickleodeon, “you can’t do that.”

"I read the news today, oh boy"

Woke up to news of arrests of military men supposedly involved in a coup attempt.  A few hours after, Gloria’s Chief of Staff Mike Defensor would announce that arrests of military men and civilians would be made;  he also announced that Gloria would make an announcement in a few minutes (30 minutes ago, as of this writing).  Many are speculating that Gloria will declare a state of rebellion, a state of emergency or even martial law.

Here’s what the Constitution provides on martial law:

     Article VII, sec. 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.  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 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 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 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.

On the other hand, here’s what the Constitution provides on state of emergency:

     Article XII, sec. 17.  In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

     Article XII, sec. 18.  The State may, in the interest of national welfare or defense, establish and operate vital industries and, upon payment of just compensation, transfer to public ownership utilities and other private enterprises to be operated by the Government.

Given that the military has already announced that what supposedly transpired this morning was a coup attempt, it is highly unlikely that Gloria would declare only a state of emergency as the powers that would be conferred by such a declaration would be only economic in nature.  It becomes more probable that a state of rebellion or a proclamation of martial law would be declared.