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Extra Constitutional Threat of Martial Law Or Coup Loom in PH


The extra constitutional measure of either declaration of martial law or a political coup looms once more in Philippine scene auguring another time for disarray .

On one side, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to reveal  to media outlets that declaration of martial law would be an option reportedly  under condition of  grassroots support including that of elements of police and military and that of communist rebels.

(President Duterte discussed once more the issue of Martial Law in a meeting with businessmen over the weekend in Davao City)

Manila’s opinion makers are lead to believe martial rule is in the offing, including similarities of events before the 1972 martial rule under the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Meanwhilst  rumours are also floating that President Duterte himself would be toppled by various opposing interests acting in counter measure in a mass movement similar to the People’s Power revolt of 1964.

At end Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo who is being dragged into possible coup has declared that toppling President Duterte is in the final analysis would be counter productive.

VP Leni Robredo said a more  viable and proactive approach would be to appeal to president Duterte’s common sense and sense of justice to stop the bloody “War on Drugs” which reportedly had resulted to some 6,000 deaths.

Both the Declaration of Martial Law in 1972 and the People’s power Revolt in 1984 are measures outside constitutionalism which guided Philippine democracy during the Philippine commonwealth government era and  the Philippine Republic times up to the  rule of then President Ferdinand Marco.

Both political events  somehow stretched wide established Philippine constitutionalist traditions, with the first justifying authoritarian rule and the latter rationalising change of government via a political coup. 

There were great hopes during the initial years of the authoritarian regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and similarly the subsequent Cory Aquino led government’s  resulting from the People’s Power Revolt in 1984. However  whatever gains these  two extra constitutional events  had made, eventually waned. The supposed New Society of Marcos eventually fell and the People’s Power Revolt lost comprehensive support from the populace.  

The Westminster democracy of several Western governments such as that of Australia still continues to be seen as stable and sustainable. In the parliamentary setup of these governments alone the fall of governments and the changeover to control by another political party are  brought about by a sensible election, not by declaration of martial rule nor by a popular citizen  revolt. 

Governments and opposition sector had to recognise  that these extra constitutional measures are neither effective nor  rational in the overall process of governance.