Martial Law Bad for Business - MBC

Manila Bulletin, December 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

Martial Law Bad for Business - MBC


“Martial law is bad for business.” Makati Business Club Executive Director Alberto Lim said this Saturday in his personal capacity as someone who experienced martial law under the late President Ferdinand Marcos.He noted that martial law gives the President absolute power and “absolute power corrupts” and, thus, martial law should be imposed only as a last resort and must fulfill the requirements set in the Constitution.Lim said that the current situation in Maguindanao may not pass the Constitutional test and should not be approved by Congress. If approved by Congress, Lim said it will most likely be challenged before the Supreme Court.He explained that the Constitution allows the declaration of martial law only in cases of extreme lawlessness or invasion. Lim pointed out that peace and order has already been restored in Maguindanao.Lim also expressed concern that the Maguindanao case may be used as an excuse to expand the coverage of martial law to other provinces in the guise of going after warlords and drug lords.At the National Press Club of the Philippines, journalists said expressed alarm over the decision of the government to place the entire province of Maguindanao under military control in the wake of the November 23 massacre that killed 57 people, more than half of them members of the press.“We hope the move to declare martial law in Maguindanao would not lead to the wholesale curtailment of the people’s constitutional rights, especially press freedom,” Benny Antiporda, NPC president said.He noted that the declaration was presaged by President Arroyo’s order for police and military authorities to neutralize all the so-called “private armies” in various parts of the country.“While it is about time that these private armed thugs – many of them trained by our national security forces – are dismantled we hope that the martial law declaration in Maguindanao would not spill to other provinces branded as ‘potential trouble spots’ by the authorities and eventually, Metro Manila,” Antiporda added.He also warned the public to be wary of the possibility that certain quarters are out to take advantage of the situation in Maguindanao to further “create an environment of fear that would justify the imposition of martial law on a grander scale.”“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. While we appreciate the efforts of the government to finally restore law and order in Maguindanao, we shall not also stand by when it is use to enforce the massacre of our democracy and the Constitution so that some people can prolong their stay in power or avoid answering for their crimes when the day of reckoning arrives.”At the ranks of the opposition, Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III said the people of Maguindanao, the people of the Philippines, and the troops on this mission, deserve every assurance that this act will, indeed, result in justice being served and peace being restored. If the declaration of martial law is not motivated by the enforcement of the rule of law, but is rather an attempt to expand authority by means of the military it will be a grave abuse of power and reckless endangerment of the lives of our brave soldiers. …

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