Arroyo state of emergency in Maguindanao valid—SC
MANILA, Philippines—There is no need to nullify the action of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in declaring a State of Emergency in three provinces in Mindanao, a day after the massacre of 57 men and women including members of the media, the Supreme Court said.
A decision authored by Associate Justice Roberto Abad which was promulgated June 7 but was released to the media recently said petitioners ARMM suspended governor Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the principal accused in the Maguindanao massacre, vice governor Ansaruddin Adiong and Legislative Assembly Speaker Regie Sahali-Generale failed to show that Proclamation 1946 had no factual bases.
Proclamation 1946 places Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency and called out the Armed Forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence in that area.
“Since petitioners are not able to demonstrate that the proclamation of state of emergency in the subject places and the calling out of the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, there have clearly no factual bases, the Court must respect the President’s actions,” the high court said.
The high court said the petitioners merely stated that since not all areas under the ARMM were placed under a state of emergency, it followed that the takeover of the entire ARMM by the Department of Interior and Local Government had no basis, too.
The high court took note of the point raised by the Office of the Solicitor-General that “the imminence of violence and anarchy at the time the President issued the Proclamation was too grave to ignore and she had to act to prevent further bloodshed and hostilities in the places mentioned.”
It also took note of the fact that even President Benigno Aquino III has not withdrawn the declaration of a State of Emergency under Proclamation 1946.
“Apparently, the presence of troops in those places is still necessary to ease fear and tension among the citizenry and prevent and suppress any violence that may still erupt, despite the passage of more than a year from the time of the Maguindanao massacre,” the high court said.