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Martial Law in Maguindanao (Proclamation 1959) Lifted

Posted by lexforiphilippines on December 17, 2009

On 12 December 2009, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Maguindanao.  The lifting took effect at 9:00PM on 12 December 2009.

According to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who announced the lifting, the objectives of Proclamation 1959 have been achieved, hence, the President’s decision to approve the unanimous recommendation by the National Security Council (NSC), based on a review and assessment of the situation on the ground.

The objectives of Proclamation 1959, which the Office of the President said had been accomplished, were:

(a) Quell the rebellion in Maguindanao;

(b) Arrest the suspects in the 23 November 2009 Maguindanao massacre;

(c) Secure the safety of witnesses in the massacre;

(d) File appropriate charges against the suspects;

(e) Disarm illegal armed groups;

(f) Restore law and order and press freedom; and

(g) Restore civilian government.

On 14 December 2009, the Senate passed Resolution No. 1522 expressing the sense of the Senate that the proclamation of martial law in Maguindanao is contrary to the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

On 15 December 2009, the last day of the joint session of Congress on Proclamation 1959, Congress ended its deliberations on whether or not to revoke the said Proclamation.

It remains to be seen if the Supreme Court would consider the petitions to nullify Proclamation No. 1959 moot, or if it would rule on the sufficiency of the factual basis of said Proclamation.  Under the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court has 30 days from the filing of the said petitions to issue its ruling.


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