“Martial Law in Mindanao: Length and Scope (2)” by Malcolm Cook

2017/40, 5 July 2017

Three recent developments further clarify the likely length and scope of the imposition of martial law and the lifting of the writ of habeas corpus across all of Mindanao:

    • Yesterday, the Supreme Court, in an 11-3-1 verdict, upheld the constitutionality of President Duterte’s 23 May declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of 60 days. Soon after the 23 May presidential declaration, the Senate and House of Representatives passed separate motions of support.
    • Yesterday, the chief of the Philippine National Police Ronald de la Rosa said he and the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (and martial law administrator) General Eduardo Año favour extending martial law beyond the current 60 day period that will end on 22 July.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             President Duterte’s large majorities in both houses of Congress and their strong support for the current proclamation and suspension suggest that Congress may be well disposed to such an extension. On 16 June, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told reporters he favoured extending martial law in Mindanao until the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022.
    • On Monday, the news portal Rappler published the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ implementing guidelines for martial law. The 23 May declaration and de la Rosa’s support for an extension of martial law beyond 22 July have been justified by the ongoing battle against Islamic State-affiliated terrorists in Marawi City. Yet, the army’s implementing guidelines are much broader. “Degrading armed capabilities of the NPA [New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines]” is listed as the third key task of implementing martial law.
Martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao is likely to extend beyond 22 July and, potentially, beyond the Marawi City siege and the threat of Islamic State-affiliated terrorism.
On 29 May, ISEAS published the first Martial Law in Mindanao Commentary here.

Dr Malcolm Cook is Senior Fellow at the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.  No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission.