7 out of 10 Pinoys see no need for martial law, says survey
Seven out of 10 Filipinos do not see a need for the declaration of martial law now, results of the latest Pulse Asia survey released on Wednesday showed, amid concerns that President Duterte was leaning toward authoritarian rule.
Nationwide, 74 percent of 1,200 adult respondents disagreed when asked whether it may be necessary to have martial law to solve the country’s various problems, while 12 percent agreed and 14 percent were undecided.
The poll found that disagreement was the majority sentiment across regions (ranging from 81 percent in Metro Manila to 65 percent in Visayas) and socioeconomic classes (ranging from 76 percent among Class D to 67 percent among Class E).
Likewise, disagreement was the prevailing opinion among men (73 percent) and women (74 percent) and across age groups (ranging from 77 percent among ages 25-34 and 45-54 to 70 percent among ages 18-24 and 55-64).
The noncommissioned Ulat ng Bayan survey conducted in Dec. 6-11, 2016, had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
In Dec. 22, 2016, Mr. Duterte said he wanted the martial law provisions in the Constitution amended to remove the requirement of legislative and judicial review.
“If I declare martial law and there is an invasion or war, I cannot proceed on and on, especially if there is trouble. I have to go to Congress, I have to go to the Supreme Court if anybody would file a complaint to look into the factual [basis of the declaration],” Duterte said.
“But what if the world is in chaos? That’s why there is martial law, so that only one person would be giving directions,” he added. “That’s why I want to change that. But there is a safety measure there. I’ll tell you later.”
According to Section 18 in Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution, the President may proclaim martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to repel rebellion or invasion when “public safety requires it” for a period of 60 days.
Within 48 hours after such declaration, the President is mandated to present a report to the Congress in person or in writing.
Voting jointly, the Senate and the House of Representatives may revoke the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus by a vote of at least a majority of all its members, a process which the President cannot discard.
On Sept. 21, 1972, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 which imposed martial law nationwide. A day after the actual announcement on Sept. 23, about 100 of 400 personalities were detained in Camp Crame.
“The people have not forgotten the atrocities, repression and corruption spawned by 14 ignominious years of martial law,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a leader of the “Magnificent 7” independent minority bloc in the House of Representatives.
“The 74 percent of Filipinos who disagree with the implementation of martial law in solving pressing national problems is a categorical signal to the Duterte administration not to consider [resorting] to a martial law regime,” he said in a statement.
Lagman noted that based on the survey, Filipinos’ rejection of martial law cut across all sectors, showing consistent averages in all age groups, genders, economic status and regions.
“The people have spoken,” he said. “President Duterte and his men must stop talking about tinkering with the revival of martial law.” —WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP