A Bangsamoro perspective on Martial Law and revolutionary Government

A Martial Law generally refers to a situation where in the head of state or the President places an area under the control of the military or the Armed Forces the state. It is declared either when there is near- violent civil unrest or in cases of major natural disasters. Sometimes, martial law can interchangeably use as " state of emergency. "

Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, a declaration of martial law can be revoked or extended by congress and reviewed by the Supreme Court.

The provision of the law says that the declaration shall be affirmed by the congress via a vote and even reviewed by the Supreme Court within 48 hours after its declarant on, the President shall report " in person or in writing " to congress. Congress then has the power to revoke the proclamation by a vote of at least a majority of all members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congress can also, if requested by the President and if public safety requires it, extend the period of Martial Law beyond the mandated 60 days. 

The Supreme Court for the time being may review the "sufficiency of the factual basis " of the proclamation of martial law in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen. Meaning, the declaration of martial law does not impede the rule of law and it is within the ambit of the constitution.

As to the setting up of Revolutionary Government, the main condition is there should be a declaration and of course a revolution. The president cannot declare or people can just persuade the head of state to declare such on the basis of imaginary perception but must be a presence of an actual uncontrollable and ungovernable state.

Taking into consideration the definition given by Samuel Huntington on revolution. He defines it, " as a rapid, fundamental and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society in its political institutions, social structure, leadership, and government activity and policies."

Indeed, a revolutionary government can bring about the changes that a leader would like to instigate. But this is a dangerous path to explore and always a dangerous preposition. The outcome of political violence is unpredictable, uncontrollable and often terrifying. 

To contemplate on Philippine settings, the Philippines has a long history of revolution. The first Filipino revolution was in 1896 against Spain led by Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan.

Then in 1930, the communist and the socialist continued the revolution in fighting American imperialism and overthrowing the reactionary state of local ruling elites.

In 1972, President Ferdinand E. Marcos imposed Martial Law and launched his own " revolution from the center “, which aimed to build a " New Society " built on discipline and traditional Filipino values.

Subsequently, the People Power uprising in 1986 overthrown the Marcos regime known as " Edsa Revolution " and followed by 2001 people power type uprising which ousted the then President Joseph Estrada.

Here now comes President Rodrigo R. Duterte who recently announced his intention to form a revolutionary government and threatening to close down congress and other institutions. He tends to overhaul the existing government system and introduce reforms through extraconstitutional means.

Generally, any head of state can declare revolutionary government but it is illegal and unconstitutional but it is possible under the prevailing circumstances. But sometimes this will lead to "

 one-man rule " or dictatorship or " authoritarian rule " just like the Marcos dictatorship in the 70's.

Granting for the sake of argument that President Duterte will declare revolutionary government, he needs the backing of the military and majority of the Filipino people. But he is thriving into a dangerous ground that the situation might end up in civil war.

The Bangsamoro perspective on the declaration of Revolutionary government

sees positive and negative aspects on Bangsamoro aspiration. On an academic analysis, if President Duterte is really sincere in addressing the Bangsamoro question, this scenario is advantageous and a " short cut " for the establishment of Bangsamoro government. President Duterte will just issue a proclamation order for the abolishment of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and replace it with the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro ( CAB ) compliance Bangsamoro government as provided for in the GPH - MILF Peace Agreement. This is also an opportunity for President Duterte to easily shift from the present unitary form of government to federal form of government without legal impediment considering that there is no constitution to be reckoned with.

On the contrary, if the circumstances mentioned are on the reverse, there will be social unrest, possibility of civil war may erupt and the Bangsamoro question will be put into sidelines and many armed groups and warlords will emerge that will challenge the military might of the revolutionary government. Expect likewise the emergence of violent extremist group who will take advantage of the situation for failure of the government to fulfill his obligation to the Bangsamoro people