Proclamation No. 216 also suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines (May 25, 2017) — A copy of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao was released on Wednesday evening, May 24.
The proclamation, signed on Tuesday, May 23, while Duterte was in Russia for an official visit, also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
“Habeas corpus” is a Latin phrase that means “that you have the body.”
Through the writ of habeas corpus, a court can order the state to produce the physical body of a person detained. “In general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether or not a particular person is legally held,” the Supreme Court (SC) said in a previous ruling.
“The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion,” according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
“During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.”
Proclamation No. 216 cited as justification “the series of violent acts committed by the Maute terrorist group” last year as well as their attack on Marawi City on Tuesday. The clashes in the city have left at least 5 soldiers dead and forced thousands to flee.
“This recent attack [on Tuesday] shows the capability of the Maute group and other rebel groups to sow terror, and cause death and damage to property not only in Lanao del Sur but also in other parts of Mindanao,” states the proclamation.
Below is a copy of the two-page Proclamation No. 216.
Duterte warned on Wednesday that he will be “harsh” in implementing martial law, which he said “will not be any different” from the military rule under dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Duterte also said he might expand martial law to include Luzon and the Visayas if the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) persists.
If the President wants to extend martial law beyond the 60 days specified in the 1987 Constitution, he must get the approval of Congress.
Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution says that the President, as commander-in-chief, may “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it” suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the country under martial law.
Crafted after the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos in 1986, the 1987 Constitution highlights the role of other branches of government in the martial law declaration. The provisions are meant precisely to prevent grave abuse and stop another Marcos from tinkering with civil rights.
Congress may revoke the declaration of martial law, while the SC may review it following an “appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.”