MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – In a recent television interview, Senator Risa Hontiveros insisted that the siege on Marawi City does not constitute either rebellion or invasion thereby making President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao uncalled for.
“Rebellion and invasion” as we know from the 1987 Philippine Constitution are grounds for the declaration of Martial Law and the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. But the Constitutional provision goes beyond the two terms:
Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
Perhaps, the smart lady senator skipped over two equally important phrases when she read the Constitution: “suppress lawless violence,” and “when the public safety requires it.”
From all indications regarding the Marawi siege, there was lawless violence, and the lives and safety of the Marawi citizens were seriously threatened and compromised.
But it gets worse.
Hontiveros, quoting from some unknown sources — or quoting from the left side of her brain — said that in order to consider the Marawi incident as a rebellion, a section of the Marawi local government or its citizens must be involved in a move to separate from the national government.
Based on her theory, Filipinos living in Batanes could go to Batangas and stage a violent siege and that would not constitute rebellion because it does not involve the local government and citizens of Batangas.
Then, in an apparent self-contradiction, Hontiveros said there was no invasion in Marawi because for invasion to occur, OUTSIDE FORCES must descend upon a territory to try to seize the duly-constituted authority and stage violent acts against that territory’s citizens.
It does not matter that Hontiveros just minutes after answered in the affirmative when the show’s host asked her point blank if the Maute group members belonged to “outside” forces and that they staged a violent siege, raising a flag that does not represent the Philippines.
Unfortunately, politicians don’t have to go through any professional regulatory examination in order to be elected into office.
Maybe, all candidates and elected officials should pass a national civics board exam or something before being allowed to run for public office. Starting with Hontiveros.
Or maybe, as the satire site The Adobo Chronicles reported, Hontiveros should just focus on less controversial issues, like proposing a bill to ban fake chicharron.