Gov’t releases ‘Martial Law Fast Facts’

MANILA — To prevent misinformation and allay fears of chaos, the government has released a video explaining the basic facts about President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The video, dubbed as ‘Martial Law Fast Facts’, seeks to disseminate proper information in order for Filipinos to understand the constitutional basis of the President’s move.

Key points featured in the video include the duties to be performed by all three branches of the government in case of the President’s declaration of martial law.

“This (video) will give an assurance to our people, especially ordinary peace-loving citizens that it is being resorted to for the general welfare and not for vested interests of our leaders particularly the President and the military/police, they being the implementers,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said.

This will be broadcast on People’s Television, Philippine Broadcasting Service and on the websites and Facebook accounts of the PCOO and its attached agencies such as the Philippine Information Agency and Philippine News Agency starting tonight, May 25.

Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that the President, sitting as the Commander in Chief of the nation’s armed forces, has the power to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus to curb lawless violence, invasion or rebellion for a period of 60 days.

Within 48 hours, the President in person or in writing must submit a report to Congress.

The Congress, voting jointly, may revoke or extend the martial law period through a majority vote.

For its part, the Supreme Court may review and decide on the matter within 30 days.

While in an official visit to Russia, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 216 which places the entire Mindanao region under martial law following attacks perpetrated by the Maute terror group in Marawi City in the province of Lanao del Sur.

The President cut short his official visit to Russia and returned to the country on Wednesday to personally oversee the situation in Mindanao.

“I will assure you I am not willing to allow abuses. Government is still running, the Congress is functioning, and the courts are open for citizens to seek grievance,” President Duterte said during his arrival in Manila on May 24 from his brief Moscow trip.

The Department of National Defense has also issued a memorandum directing all military units to adhere to the rule of law and exercise respect for human rights in areas where martial law is in effect.