MANILA – Martial law, if not violated and the rights of the people will not be abused, can be a tool to save the country’s democracy, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
According to Panelo, while martial law – during the time of former president Ferdinand Marcos – instilled discipline to the people, it left a “bad taste” into the mouth.
“The Marcos martial law instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country, but it incurred a deep wound to the generation that followed it,” he said.
Panelo added framers of the 1987 Constitution saw the need to retain the provision for the declaration of martial law in order to “save” the country from the enemies of the state.
“Those who perceive that a declaration of martial law is anti-democratic are oblivious of the fact that its application is precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy. It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious,” he said.
“Relative to our quest to strengthen the Republic and its institutions, the Palace urges everyone to look at the past to guide us on what to do with the present, that it may serve us better in the future,” the Palace official added.
Marcos signed Proclamation 1081 on Sept. 21, 1972, when he placed the entire Philippines under martial law, citing rising insurgency and criminality in the country. It was lifted on January 1981, but the authoritarian rule of Marcos essentially ended in 1986.
President Rodrigo Duterte on May 2017 placed Mindanao under martial law after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-inspired Maute group attacked and destroyed Marawi City. It was extended thrice with the last scheduled to end by Dec. 31, 2019./PN