By Raïssa Robles
When Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law in 1972, it was his Information Minister Francisco Tatad who read out the lengthy decree declaring it.
This time, there was no Presidential Proclamation, no Executive Order, no Letter of Instruction. There was nothing in writing.
It was merely announced through a press briefing.
The basis? A legal opinion from Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra that rebellion existed on the ground. Guevarra’s basis? We don’t know. The reporters weren’t told.
When a reporter asked whether the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus would be suspended as well, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella replied – “suspension of writ of habeas corpus and details to follow na lang.”
Is this how Martial Law will unfold for the rest of the country?
Details to follow?
There is a scary sort of casualness about Abella’s statement when he talked about eroding the Filipinos’ civil liberties.
During the press conference in Manila upon his arrival, Duterte claimed he signed the declaration of Martial Law but happened to leave it in Moscow.
Was he joking? Or was there no actual document and he was just making excuses why he cannot share the document publicly. And even if he left the document in Moscow, he could simply ask Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who was left behind there to retrieve it, scan it and e-mail the scanned soft copy.
Please read the transcript of the entire press briefing below provided by Malacañang Palace, which disclosed that Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao:
Press briefing by Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano
[At the Four Seasons Hotel, Moscow, Russia | 23 May 2017]
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: 23 May 2017, Moscow. The President has called me and asked me to announce that as of 10 p.m. Manila time, he has already declared Martial Law for the entire island of Mindanao.
SDES Guevarra [Note: Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra] has clarified that this was possible on the grounds of existence of rebellion because of what is happening in Mindanao based on Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution. This is good for 60 days.
I am going to defer now to Secretary Del Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense, to give us a backgrounder and then to Secretary Alan Cayetano of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
SEC. LORENZANA: Good evening. At 2 p.m. this afternoon, Manila time, joint elements of the Army and the Police were trying to serve a warrant of arrest on Isnilon Hapilon at Barangay Basak Malutlut in Marawi City when they were met with firefight or firearms — gunfire from the group of Hapilon Isnilon.
At the same time other groups also of the Maute and ISIS, a group of ISIS, this Maute is an ISIS inspired. He started also to occupy some establishment in Marawi City. They occupied the Amai Pakpak Hospital, this is a hospital under the DOH, the City Hall, City Jail and part of the MSU compound.
Firefight ensued and our troops reacted properly but as of tonight — tonight in the Philippines, the Maute group burned several facilities: the St. Mary’s Church, the City Jail, the Ninoy Aquino School, and the Dansalan College.
The Maute fighters still occupy also the main street of Marawi City, it’s called the Quezon Street and two bridges leading to the city. As of tonight, there were three killed government troops, one PNP and two Army and 12 wounded.
The whole of Marawi City is blackout, there is no light and there are snipers, Maute snipers all around. So the troops are still on holding and several troops elements have already joined them from other neighboring units. And tomorrow morning we are bringing in more troops from Zamboanga and Manila.
I talked to the commander of the First Division Major General Rolando Bautista a while ago just maybe five minutes ago and he gave me this update. Later I talked to the Governor of Lanao del Sur, Governor Adiong and he also told me the same thing. Now, no civilians are roaming around, they are all in their houses but there were several houses also that were burned surrounding the other facilities that were burned earlier.
Now, that is all that we can give you at this moment. We are still waiting for other developments.
SEC. CAYETANO: Hi, good afternoon. I have spoken to our — to my counterpart here in Moscow and have explained the situation and they understand that the security of the Filipino people especially in Marawi and the whole Mindanao is a priority.
They understand that the presence of the President — of President Duterte is essential in the Philippines but I will be staying behind.
The agreements will be signed and we will have a bilateral meeting with the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov.
Q: [Ika-cut short niya?]
SEC. CAYETANO: They will announce it but they are now making arrangements because the President feels that he is needed in Manila as soon as possible. So they will make an announcement either Presidential Spokesman or someone else in the Cabinet.
But definitely the agreements will push through but the President will not be staying until 24th and the 25th.
We’ll make an announcement later.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We continue to encourage the community in Marawi and in Mindanao to please take all precaution, cooperate with authorities and stay calm.
We are open now to a few questions.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Joseph Morong (GMA): Sir, just to fine-tune the declaration, what are the areas in Mindanao that is covered? And —
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It is the entire island of Mindanao.
Mr. Morong: And because of that, what would be the security setup there? Papaano—
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The details will be forthcoming. Any other questions?
Doris Bigornia (ABS-CBN): Sir, what about in Manila, is there a need to declare a state of emergency considering that there has been declaration before by the PNP Chief himself that there’s some presence of ISIS in Manila?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What the President has done is just to declare only for the island — entire island of Mindanao, including Basilan and Sulu.
Ms. Bigornia: Basilan and Sulu.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yeah, and Tawi-Tawi.
Arlyn dela Cruz (Radyo Inquirer): Sir, question. Just a clarification na there are reports that it’s an ISIS attack and you’re saying it’s a Maute group with ASG. What group is behind the attack in Marawi?
SEC. LORENZANA: It is actually Maute/ISIS because they are the same.
Ms. Dela Cruz: If it is an ISIS attack, does it mean that it has an international backing?
SEC. LORENZANA: I believe so because we already… There was… There have been reports that came to me from Baghdad that they are already seeing these pictures in the website of ISIS.
Ms. Dela Cruz: Filipinos?
SEC. LORENZANA: No. I think the website of ISIS in the Middle East.
Ms. Dela Cruz: So there’s prior information to this attack in that website?
SEC. LORENZANA: Maybe no but we can always stream those information immediately just like what we are doing now. I also got pictures of those people just today from Marawi.
Ms. Bigornia: Secretary Alan, would that mean that the meetings with Medvedev and President Putin are scrapped?
SEC. CAYETANO: Again, the presence of the President — the physical presence is needed in the Philippines. That is the President’s assessment and his priority is always the protection of each and every Filipino.
He will act within the framework of the Constitution. We will follow all rules and regulations.
Now, the meetings between President Duterte and President Putin and President Duterte and Prime Minister Medvedev will be postponed and…
But we are in the process of arranging that President Putin and President Duterte will be able to speak most probably it will be a phone call because President Putin is not in Moscow at this point in time.
Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good afternoon, sir. Ah good evening na pala. Sir, magkakaroon po ng forced evacuation sa mga civilian communities para mag- give way po sa surgical — possible surgical operations po?
SEC. LORENZANA: Wala pa ngayon. Ang sinasabi namin doon stay in their homes muna. Huwag silang mag-kalat-kalat sa paligid ngayong gabi dahil wala ngang ilaw at maraming snipers ‘yung mga ISIS/Maute doon na nag-aabang, baka mapagkamalan silang sundalo.
Also, the soldiers will also — might mistake them to be the enemies. So stay put muna sa mga bahay nila and then tomorrow when it’s light, so malalaman natin kung ano pang gagawin natin doon.
We may require them to get out of their homes or evacuate them but we will provide the evacuation facilities like transportation para makaalis sila kung magkaroon talaga ng house to house fighting diyan sa Marawi.
Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, may we know how the President decided? What was his thought process and what were the events that led to his deciding to declare Martial Law? Was he briefed? Who briefed him? Was his decision also suggested by Defense officials?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He met with his own group and we will just have to leave it at that. The full details we don’t have.
Ms. Ranada: His own group? Sorry?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.
Ms. Ranada: His own group?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: His own group of — his group of advisers, okay. We don’t have the details about the composition of the advisers.
Henry Uri (DZRH): Secretary Lorenzana, considering the urgency of the situation in Mindanao, do you think there’s a necessity to ask for immediate military support or assistance either in China or here in Russia?
SEC. LORENZANA: None. I think we can do this. We’ll just have to reshuffle our troops. Medyo nabigla lang sila doon because they were expecting to arrest Mr. Isnilon.
They didn’t know that he was backed up by more or less about 100 armed fighters. But we will be able to contain them as we go along, maybe tomorrow or in the next two days.
Mr. Uri: Iyon ho bang Marawi area, matagal na hong pinamumugaran ng mga Maute group at ito ho ba’y matagal nang sinusubaybayan?
SEC. LORENZANA: Yes. If you remember, we were able to — we bombed them in Butig. Isnilon was there in Butig early this year and they were scattered and…
But it’s coming out now from the reports of the military that they have a lot of sympathizers in Marawi City.
So they were able to infiltrate Marawi without the knowledge of the military that’s why they were able to go there undetected, maybe posing as civilians coming to the city until they saw this.
If they did not see Isnilon siguro, they will not be able to have this incident because Isnilon was there. He was seeking medical attention and when he was approached to — his hideout or his safe house was approached to arrest him, they started firing at our soldiers. That’s why there was this encounter.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll have to confine it to the last one, two questions because I’ll be deferring now to Sec. Alan Cayetano.
SEC. CAYETANO: Pia, just to add to your question — to add to the answer ‘no — the President does not take lightly the declaration of Martial Law of any part of the Philippines.
In fact, this option was an option in the past. He has announced that there are groups that have been auditioning for recognition in ISIS and both Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Esperon and our Chief of Staff Año and Chief PNP Dela Rosa have continuously briefed you about certain security threats in Mindanao.
The President doesn’t take this lightly because we — he knows and his Cabinet knows that there are implications, for example, in tourism.
The mere declaration of Martial Law would dissuade some from going to Mindanao at this point in time.
But the priority of the President is the safety, the lives and the property of the people of Mindanao.
So he cannot sacrifice the lives of people for any amount of money or for any economic reasons.
So please, rest assured that the details will come in later because of two reasons: one, they are focused now on the situation; number two, there are many things that they cannot discuss at this point in time because the groups in Mindanao who are being monitored are also monitoring what we will say here and we cannot reveal the strategy or the military tactics or the actions of the civilian government.
So we apologize at this time but we will be transparent and give you the information you need as soon as we are capable of giving it without endangering the lives of the men in uniform, especially in Mindanao.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think we need to defer to the statement of Secretary Cayetano regarding the delicacy of the matter. So let me just end now.
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star): Usec, do you still maintain — sa mga ating officials — do you still maintain your previous statement that the government is still in control of the situation in Marawi considering may mga lumalabas na—?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: My statement was… My statement if you were listening to it is this: He has full confidence in AFP and PNP’s management of the situation, all right. And so that is why he is returning also to the Philippines and so let us continue to trust in the process.
Mr. Romero: Okay. Let me just ask Secretary Lorenzana, is the government in full control of Marawi right now?
SEC. LORENZANA: Of course. I told you a while ago, I just talked to the Division Commander. General Bautista is supposed to be in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur but he is now in Marawi this morning.
So sabi niya, wala namang problema. We will just try to hold the ground tonight so that we can bring in more troops maybe tonight and tomorrow morning. So under control ‘yan.
Ms. Bigornia: Sec. Lorenzana, how many troops of the Maute and ISIS are we talking about and meron po bang nagkaroon ng lapse sa intelligence kaya nakapasok sila ng undetected sa Marawi?
SEC. LORENZANA: Alam naman natin na nandiyan sila eh. And in fact, there was this big firefight somewhere in [?] diyan sa mga mountainous diyan areas surrounding Marawi City.
And I don’t think there is a lapse of intelligence. It’s just appreciation of the intelligence that was lacking there.
Baka hindi nila… Akala nila eh kayang-kaya but you know, it’s just… There’s intelligence there. It’s just the appreciation of what intelligence means that medyo nagkamali sila.
Ms. Bigornia: Sir, it was not a lapse? There was no lapse?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you very much.
Mr. Morong: Sir, why all of Mindanao, sir?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, that is the declaration of the President, all right?
Mr. Morong: Secretary Lorenzana?
SEC. LORENZANA: Because there are also problems in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in also in Central Mindanao, in the BIFF area.
And we also have some problems in the Region 11, ‘yung mga pangongotong ng mga NPA.
Sabi nga ni Presidente, he has been telling these people that if I declare Martial Law, tatapusin ko lahat ng problema so kaya nga buong Mindanao na.
Mr. Morong: Sir, related to your statement, how is the declaration of the Martial Law going to help with the problem with Maute and all of that?
SEC. LORENZANA: Well, we will be able to control their movements, we can… Lahat ng gagawin na dapat gawin sa Martial Law, we will implement. Control of movement, searches and arrest of detained people for —
Mr. Morong: Warrantless arrest, sir?
SEC. LORENZANA: — suspension of writ of habeas corpus and details to follow na lang.
Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung arrest will begin when?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Mr. Morong, details to follow. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Military still awaits Commander-in-Chief Duterte’s guidelines on how to operationalize Martial Law “on the ground”
Military still awaits Commander-in-Chief Duterte’s guidelines on how to operationalize Martial Law “on the ground”
Did President Duterte leave the country with nobody in charge?
Did President Duterte leave the country with nobody in charge?
Declaration of Martial Law is admission of failure … according to Rene Saguisag
Steve Esteban says
Taking all the top military leaders is just a safeguard for any possible quo. Otherwise, why would he do that. Just a thought.
security yata yan, taking top brass of military as travel accessories, and the lambs went along meekly and without a bleat, all expenses paid. think of all the shopping they can do overseas and how happy thier wives, mistresses and girlfriends would be back home, their men coming back laden with duty free gifts and souveniers.
Ancient Mariner says
And what precipitated the move to Martial Law? In my opinion it started with the doomed to failure impeachment case against Duterte who is now impeachment free for one year. Stand-by, ready for blast off.
Something did not add up in Duterte’s visit to Russia, and raises some intriguing questions.
Why was Duterte’s visit to Russia so important that his visit was originally scheduled for 5 days? By comparison, his visit to China which is considered much more important was for 4 days only, and his visit to Japan was for 3 days?
Why was Duterte already in Moscow on a Monday when his meeting with Putin is not until Thursday?
The shootout between Philippine military troops and and the terror Maute group was confined to the southern city of Marawi. So why put the entire Mindanao region under martial law?
Why would the limited shootout in Marawi be reason enough for Duterte to cut short his visit to Russia if it were so important in the first place that he originally decided to spend 5 days for the visit?
If the situation in Marawi is so dire that Duterte has to put the entire Mindanao under martial law where is Duterte now – has he been very actively visible in the media to show that he has full control of the situation?
Is the situation in Marawi purposely escalated by the serving of arrest warrant to Isnilon Hapilon at Barangay Basak Malutlut in Marawi City?
Is Duterte in good health?
Or is the Martial Law the beginning of Russian expansion to PI..ang bagal ba ng China?… parang making a Syria out of the Philippines…ever since Du30 assume Presidency all unthinkable happened to Filipinos..like his election has shades of Russia meddling …..now without a fight Philippines has just been handed to 2 communist countries…wa happen?
not long ago po, during the time of pres aquino, similar situation occurred in zamboanga city. rebels under misuari (?) ransacked zamboanga city, taking over the city hall and raising isis flag there, burning public buildings, houses, and taking civilians hostages, etc.
pres aquino immediately flew to zamboanga city and with the military, oversaw the operation from ground zero. he has 1st hand knowledge and saw for himself what was happening. and yet, aquino did not declare martial law. kaya naman ng military ang trabaho without added burden of martial law. there was less panic among the people, plus mataas ang morale ng military nuon dahil pres aquino was there to support them, living and planning with them all steps of the way. the bakbakan and clearing operation went on for around 2weeks (?) yata.
the rebels were repulsed and jailed, and bounty was put on misuari’s head. pero, pinawalang sala ni digong si misuari. jailed rebels were freed and given amnesty and look what happened. the bastards regrouped and are back to their merry old ways. they want peace kuno, killing people and burning buildings, and all for peace yata.
digong’s martial law is a joke and lorensana is his pinoycchio.
sounds crazy, acting crazy, is crazy digong is. for one his age to be constantly traveling to far away places, he has got to be in good health. his travel entourage is not less than 70 and yet for publicity purposes, only a few are pictured with him, the rest are mailap at super media shy. to monitor digong’s health, there must be a doctor who constantly travels with him, even the top brass of the military travel with him too, lorenzana among them.
methink, digong treated the top brass ng military as his personal assistant, palaging bitbit in his travels and within arm’s length of him. that way, they cannot spring a coup on him. pero, I say, that way it’s easier for them to spring a coup, he is already at arm’s length and easy to grab, many of them and only one of him.
but, if they’re threatened that their families back home will be harmed if they wont cooperate with digong, not far fetch po yan. the polis are just as crazy as the man on the top and everyone is fair enough game for the kapolisan’s secret aparadors, for a price.
martial law in absentia, he, he, he, digong really knows how to exaggerate. he was not there 1st hand to see for himself the situation in marawi. in russia, digong only got 2nd hand and maybe 3rd hand info about marawi, and along the line, that info got distorted and exaggerated. a molehill becomes a mountain. a cat becomes a lion.
di naman malayong mangyari na palakihin ang ga-butil na blackhead.
napapalibutan si bduts ng mga intrigero at intrigera…
This is the reason why I am (am I the only one?) objecting to giving the Prez the power of Commander in Chief of the AFP. The framers of the 1987 Consti surely did not learn any lesson from Marcos’ manipulation of this power and now, another dictator is using it. I have aired this issue in the past to some people in the print media ‘coz they’re in the position to open the issue up to the people for discussion. Instead I was told and asked, “You have a point but who do you want the AFP answer to?”, as the general question. Even Dean Andy Bautista asked me that. But when I gave my solution, I got no comment (from all of them) end of discussion, even here in this forum.
And now after 45 yrs., we’re here again, being threatened by a dictator of MLaw. Shall I say, “those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it”?
I like your scenarios.
sounds to me like putting the cart before the horse.anyhow, I’m reminded tuloy of military junta and what happened in fiji years and years ago. the military chief there lead a coup and successfully took over the govt, and then, resigned from the military and duly made himself prime minister. and since fiji has federal govt, the prime minister must be elected by the people and so, the military chief now turned prime minister went the whole hog: campaigned and got elected by popular mandate and was voted in as prime minister in his own right.
the question: who do you want the afp to answer to? but does it have to? afp can play politics and align itself to whoever is in power, whoever can give it the most advantage. the afp can be just as kurap as anyone, self serving as anyone, blinkered too. my apologies to the righteous few. they’re rare as hen’s teeth.
And the announcement was done in the dead of the night.
martial law, warrantless arrest, so have the military made warrantless arrest the past 24hrs? with martial law, the military has to act fast and round up insurgents before they disappear into their boltholes, strike before insurgents’ could further regrouped and most importantly, and cut off insurgent’s communication before more messages can be sent.
kaso, the military lose precious time yata waiting for digong to arrive. he should not have not gone to moskaw in the 1st place.
so sino’ng in-charge sa panahong wala sila?
‘wag namang sabihing wala…
Planted evidence planted charges and now planted martial law..hehehe…fentanyl effects are ravaging this country which a year ago was in its way to prosperity..
Binababoy talaga ang bayan ….
sino ang in charge while digong was away traveling na naman and taking with him afp chief as baby sitter, methink, the rebels were in charge, full straight ahead. they’re digong’s friends after all, and the headless military abandoned by their afp chief can only cry: I want my daddy!
THE MANY BLESSINGS OF MARTIAL LAW TO DU30 and HIS KAPANALIG
1. The betrayal of the Philippines to China and Russia will be overlooked
2. Drug killings and frat brods abuses and corruption can be easily hidden
3. Bongbong can easily succeed him.
4. Imee’s crime re Trajano murder can be easily tucked away
5. ABS CBN/Inquirer/Rappler assets can be carted off as before with any opposition
6. Trillanes/Alejano /rest of LIberal Party can be all arrested and finally be in Carballo Island
7. Di na makakaporma ang Supreme Court
digong and his kapanalig, they’ll turn on each other and grabbing what they can. sleeping with the enemy, the kapolisan is already infiltrated by the abu sayyaf and rebels are already deep yata within the rank. there are sympathizers in the kapolisan, helping rebels and saving them. some are related by love and romance, and maybe, kinship.
erap is having road blocks in manila, funny that one. kapolisan will probly just wave off their kabaro and not subject them to checks. and who knows? maybe their kabaros are the infiltrators out to sow chaos, plant bombs and rob banks. it’s the civilians who will be punished, inconvenient and made to bear the brunt of road blocks.