I’m not from SALIGAN though one member lawyer is my friend. I’ll take my time to discern and reflect on the current situation. I don’t want to make haste statement? hmm. Some of this day i’ll post my review on E.O. 1017. I want to get more opinion from others and what they think. Maybe i will delimit the scope amongst us Moro people and more on how it will affect us Moro and also the current peace process in Mindanao.

Heres the statement:

STATEMENT OF THE ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS ON THE ILLEGALITY OF PROCLAMATION 1017
February 24, 2006

Proclamation No. 1017 is only intended to create fear and quell legitimate protests against the government. This is an abuse of the presidential power and a misapplication of Section 18, Article VII and Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution.
Proclamation No. 1017 does not suspend any rights under the Constitution nor does it grant the President any new power. There has been no declaration of a state of martial law nor has there been a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Only Congress can grant the President any emergency powers within the limits of the Constitution.

On the face of Proclamation No. 1017, the President is merely calling on the military to prevent and suppress rebellion and has declared a state of emergency.

The declaration of a state of emergency in itself does not give any extra powers to the President. All the guarantees and protections provided for under the Bill of Rights are still in place. If there are any arrests or searches that have to be conducted, the military or the police must follow the regular procedure set forth in the Rules on Criminal Procedure. Warrantless arrests of rallyists and civilian leaders engaged in the legal exercise of their constitutional and democratic rights remain illegal despite the issuance of Proclamation 1017.

Proclamation No. 1017 is superfluous and devoid of any legal significance.

The declaration of a state of emergency is not necessary in order for the President to call on the military to prevent or suppress rebellion. This is already assumed in her role as Commander-in-Chief of the military. This has been decided by the Supreme Court in the case of Sanlakas vs. Reyes (2004).

“In calling out the armed forces, a declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity. At most, it only gives notice to the nation that such a state exists and that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it. Perhaps the declaration may wreak emotional effects upon the perceived enemies of the State, even on the entire nation. But this
Court’s mandate is to probe only into the legal consequences of the declaration. This Court finds that such a declaration is devoid of any legal significance. For all legal intents, the declaration is deemed not written.”

The President cannot invoke Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution as this only refers to takeover of public utilities by the “State” in times of national emergency. President Arroyo is not the “State” by herself. This can only be exercised pursuant to a law enacted by Congress. Moreover, the term national emergency is well understood in jurisprudence. In the
case of Agan, Jr. vs. Piatco (2003), the Supreme Court elucidated on what the term national emergency refers to, as follows:

“The above provision pertains to the right of the State in times of national emergency, and in the exercise of its police power, to temporarily take over the operation of any business affected with public interest. In the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the term “national emergency” was defined to include threat from external aggression, calamities or national disasters, but not strikes “unless it is of such proportion that would paralyze government service.” The duration of the emergency itself is the determining factor as to how long the temporary takeover by the government would last.”

None of these circumstances exist at this time. The term “national emergency” does not include peaceful mobilization of people to express their legitimate grievances against the government.

The President cannot suppress people power with Proclamation 1017.

THE ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC.
Rm. 215, Institute of Social Order
Social Development Complex
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Telefax (632) 4268569; Tel # (632) 4266001 loc. 4865
Email algjuris@saligan.org