Sara Duterte: 'True martial law' is when military takes over courts, gov't
MANILA, Philippines – Davao City mayor Sara Duterte prefers the pre-1987 Consitution’s version of martial law – where there are no civilian courts and the military takes over civilian government functions.
“Kapag mag martial law ka, dapat the truly strict, real sense martial law where the military takes over civilian functions. Ibig sabihin wala nang mayor, military na. Wala nang courts if there will be military courts,” said Duterte on Friday, August 2, during an interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
(If you will impose martial law, it should be the truly strict, real sense martial law where the military takes over civilian functions. Meaning there is no mayor, it’s just the military. No more courts if there will be military courts.)
She had been asked why she wanted Davao City exempted from martial law coverage in Mindanao.
In her view, if martial law is not implemented according to its true essence, it would be better not to have it since it was impacting the business sector.
“If martial law is to be implemented, it has to be like that. Since we saw in our assessment that our security sector is in place, their coordination is very good. The way that Task Force Davao and Davao City police office functions is okay. We still have city hall, we still have our courts, civilian functions are okay so I think it is best maybe that Davao City be exempted from coverage of martial law,” she said.
Her decision to ask for the lifting of martial law in her city came after ambassadors spoke with her during an investment conference in Davao City.
The envoys told her that foreign businesses have to pay higher amounts for insurance when there is a declaration of martial law. This increases their cost of doing business in the city.
“There is a business factor in the declaration of martial law,” said Sara.
Open to abuse?
The 1987 Constitution explicitly states that a declaration of martial law by the Philippine president does not take away the jurisdiction of civilian courts and hand it to military courts. It also does not authorize the military to take over civilian agencies. (READ: Martial law 101: Things you should know)
“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,” reads Section 18.
Such a line was written in order to ensure martial law is not abused by any president.
The ousted strongman Ferdinand Marcos used his martial law declaration, based on the 1935 Constitution, to define cases which could be handled by the judiciary. He also ordered the closure of private media entities, banned group assemblies, and imposed curfew hours.
President Duterte has openly expressed admiration for Marcos. (READ: Duterte: If I won't be a dictator, nothing will happen to PH)
In recent days, the Chief Executive has said he would use emergency powers vested in him by the 1987 Constitution to quell violence in Negros Island. After Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said one of Duterte’s options is declaring martial law over the area, the President warned his action would be “drastic.” – Rappler.com