Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Top Photo is the President of the Republic of the Philippines
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and to her left is Vice President
Noli de Castro. Photo from http://www.op.gov.ph/index.php?

Bottom Photo is the Governor of the Autonomous Region for
Muslim Mindanao Zaldy Ampatuan who is one of the masterminds
of the Maguindanao Massacre. Photo from http://www.allvoices.com/

We all share the outrage of the Maguindanao Massacre. But to set aside the basic and fundamental rights of the citizens there by imposing Martial Law is another story.

Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides:

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. (Emphasis supplied)

Under Title 3, Chapter One of the Philippine Revised Penal Code, rebellion is classified under Crimes against Public Order. Rebellion is defined under our jurisdiction as:

Art. 134. Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. — The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. (Emphasis supplied)

Is there such scenario in Maguindanao? Did the Ampatuans occupied a territory of the Republic of the Philippines through arms? Did the Ampatuans even cause the disruption of the functions of the Chief Executive or the Legislature even of Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanano (ARMM) through armed public uprising? The answer is a resounding NO.

Contrariwise, prior to the commission of the election-related brutal and hideous massacre in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009, where 57 innocent, unarmed and defenseless people including 36 journalists were mercilessly annihilated in an instant, the Ampatuans, who were tagged as the principal suspects, were, had been, and are personally very close to President Gloria M. Arroyo. They are the trusted political ally, and the forceful conduit in helping ensure Madam Arroyo’s victory over the whole of Mindanao, literally, with all the votes going everything for the administration versus practically nothing but mere residues for the opposing candidates.

In return, President Arroyo made the Ampatuans the king of kings and warlords of all gods: quartering them in a pedestal in Maguindanao, literally, with 23 mansions in Maguindanao Province and Davao City, amassing riches and wealth lying idle in their hands as they suffocate the people with all that crisis of suffering and alarm only they had created. You-- entrench it behind a frowning fortification—-surround it with battlements, and lay the Province of Maguindano, far and near, under contribution for the support of this garrison of office-holders. Desolation and oppression are without, while the tenants of the citadel are reveling in luxury and profusion within.

Photos of inside and outside of one of the 23 Mansions
of the Patriarch Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr.

Firearms cache dug up near the residence of Patriarch Gov. Andal Ampatuan.Photo from http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/hl/hl109215.htm

Another firearms dug up. Photo from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091207-240577/More-arrests-more-raids

Now, with such closeness, a kind of spiritual umbilical cord, how could anyone carelessly ascribe the Ampatuans to rebel against the President?

The high powered firearms, assault rifles, submachine guns, armored vehicles and ammunitions were supplied by the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police. Consequently, it is the government itself that should be blamed for it.

And the irony of it all is that it is no less than President Arroyo who uttered it, and made the basis for imposing Martial Law in Maguindanao, the very person who pampered the Ampatuans in a manner likened to that of a magkal (a humungous boa constrictor, which girth is about twice the size as the trunk of a large tree) to his trabungko (a magnificent gem believe to be the source of its immortality) that it carries on its head.

Therefore, the basis for the imposition of Martial Law in Maguindanao, sad to say, did not meet the requirements required under the Philippine Constitution.

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