A press statement by Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
May 24, 2017
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), a socialist national labor center, added its voice today to all those who oppose President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of martial law in the whole of Mindanao. Our position in based on the following grounds:
1. Mindanao is not in a state of lawless violence, nor is it facing invasion or rebellion, which are the only cases where Martial Law could be legally imposed.
The Marawi attack does not justify the imposition of military rule in a region that is now pursuing peace through revived negotiations between the Philippine government and the various armed groups of the Moro self-determination movement.
2. Unlike in the 1973 and 1935 constitutions, where imminent danger or mere threat to public safety is enough to justify military rule and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the 1987 Constitution requires that there has to be an actual uprising or insurrection in the entire Mindanao region before a justified declaration of Martial Law.
In forty eight (48) hours, Duterte is required, by law, to reveal to Congress the factual and legal basis of his imposition of Martial Law.
We demand that Malacañang to also present its case on why military rule is its solution to the terror attacks, as it is contradictory to statements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which declared that the situation in Marawi is now “under control”, and to declarations by Rodrigo Duterte himself, who has said that a purely military solution will not address the historical roots of the Mindanao conflict.
3. The legal minds of Malacañang – especially President Duterte – may argue that safeguards to civil liberties and political rights are in place even with the imposition of Martial Law. But formal recognition is different from actual realities. The Bill of Rights is often illusory in a warlord-ridden region such as Mindanao, even during peace-time but certainly more so during martial rule.
Since the imposition of martial law in Mindanao has no factual and legal basis and because Malacañang rushed into martial rule, without exhausting all other options, we fear that the fascist tendency of the Duterte regime is nearing its full bloom, through the re-imposition of open dictatorship in the entire country, which Digong has repeatedly threatened to do during the campaign and throughout his first year in office.
The BMP demands that the Duterte administration immediately (a) end the martial law in Mindanao; (b) uphold civilian supremacy over the military; (c) protect people’s rights – especially the rights to freedom of association and legitimate dissent; and, (d) address the longstanding conflicts in Mindanao by satisfying the Filipino people’s demand for peace and equality and the Bangsamoro people’s right for self-determination.