PHILIPPINES: AHRC launches online petition to revoke Maguindanao’s martial law

(Hong Kong, December 9, 2009) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) today launched an online petition to call upon the members of the Philippine Congress to revoke a proclamation which placed the province of Maguindanao, in southern Philippines, under martial law. 

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Proclamation No. 1959 on December 4. However, the justification is devoid of constitutionality as it is in contradiction to article 7 section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states, 

“…the Constitution clearly requires that only in ‘case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it’ can martial law be declared,”. 

The full text of the petition can be read and online at: A petition asking the Philippine Congress to revoke the martial law in Maguindanao province

The petitioners are urged to sign and leave comments online. The petition will be submitted to the Philippine Congress. 

The AHRC believes there was no overt acts of “invasion or rebellion” to justify this proclamation. The martial law was declared, not for reasons of suppressing rebellion, but to allow the police and the military to execute warrantless arrest and detention. 

By placing the province under martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus the policemen and the military have been given a freehand to arrest, detain and conduct searches without court warrants. 

There have been arrests of the Ampatuans, a powerful political clan accused of masterminding the Maguindanao massacre, and their supporters, but there have also been arrests of persons who are then subject to questioning despite having no involvement in the massacre. 

Today, the two chambers of the Philippine Congress–the House of Senate and the House of Representatives–have begun deliberating on whether or not to revoke the martial law. 

You can also read the AHRC’s statements on this: 

Martial Law in Maguindanao province is devoid of constitutionality 

Irrationality and double standards in Maguindanao’s martial law 

To read details about the Maguindanao Massacre

How could the ‘Maguindanao massacre’ have been allowed to happen? 

Three journalists who survived the Maguindanao massacre fear for their lives

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PRL-041-2009
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings,