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Are terrorism or acts attributable to terrorism equivalent to actual

rebellion and the requirements of public safety sufficient to declare martial
law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus?

YES. For a declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus to be valid, there must be concurrence of actual rebellion or
invasion and the public safety requirement.

In his report, the President noted that the acts of violence perpetrated by the ASG
and the Maute Group were directed not only against government forces or
establishment but likewise against civilians and their properties.

In addition and in relation to the armed hostilities,

1. bomb threats were issued,
2. road blockades and checkpoints were set up,
3. schools and churches were burned,
4. civilian hostages were taken and killed,
5. non-Muslim or Christians were targeted,
6. young male Muslims were forced to join their group,
7. medical services and delivery of basic services were hampered,
8. reinforcement of government troops and civilian movement were hindered,
9. the security of the entire Mindanao Islands was compromised.

Based on the foregoing, Proclamation No. 216 has sufficient factual basis there
being probable cause to believe that rebellion exists and that public safety requires
the martial law declaration and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

9. Will nullifying Proclamation No. 216:

a. have the effect of recalling Proclamation No. 55 s. 2016?



4 September 2016
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President, as the
Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, may call out
such armed forces whenever it becomes necessary to prevent or
suppress lawless violence.

NO. The calling out power is in a different category from the power to
declare martial law and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus. The Court’s declaration of a state of national emergency on
account of lawless violence in Mindanao through Proclamation No. 55 dated
September 4, 2016 where he called upon the Armed Forces and the Philippine
National Police (PNP) to undertake such measures to suppress any and all
forms of lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the

The President’s calling out power is in a different category from the power
to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and the power to declare martial law.
In other words, the President may exercise the power to call out the Armed
Forces independently of the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus and to declare martial law, although, of course, it may also be precluded
to a possible future exercise of the latter powers, as in this case.

b. also nullify the acts of the President in calling out the armed forces to quell
lawless violence in Marawi and other parts of the Mindanao region?

NO. Under the “operative fact doctrine”, the unconstitutional statute is

recognized as an “operative fact” before it is declared unconstitutional. The
actual existence of a statute prior to such a determination of constitutionality is
an operative fact that may have consequence which cannot always be erased by a
new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to the invalidy
may have to be considered in various aspects- with respect to particular
regulations, individual and corporate and particular conduct, private and official.

Conclusion/ FINAL RULING:

We revert back to the premise that the discretion to determine the territorial scope
of martial law lies with the President. The Constitution grants him the prerogative
whether to put the entire Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. There
is no constitutional edict that martial law should be confined only in the particular
place where the armed public uprising actually transpired. This is not only
practical but also logical. Martial law is an urgent measure since at stake is
the nation's territorial sovereignty and survival. As such, the President has to
respond quickly. After the rebellion in the Court's compound, he need not wait
for another rebellion to be mounted in Quezon City before he could impose
martial law thereat. If that is the case, then the President would have to wait until
every remote corner in the country is infested with rebels before he could declare
martial law in the entire Philippines. For sure, this is not the scenario envisioned
by the Constitution.

Going back to the illustration above, although the President is not required to
impose martial law only within the Court's compound because it is where the
armed public uprising actually transpired, he may do so if he sees fit. At the same
time, however, he is not precluded from expanding the coverage of martial law
beyond the Court's compound. After all, rebellion is not confined within
predetermined bounds.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to fix the territorial scope of martial law in direct
proportion to the "range" of actual rebellion and public safety simply because
rebellion and public safety have no fixed physical dimensions. Their transitory
and abstract nature defies precise measurements; hence, the determination of the
territorial scope of martial law could only be drawn from arbitrary, not fixed,
variables. The Constitution must have considered these limitations when it
granted the President wide leeway and flexibility in determining the territorial
scope of martial law. Moreover, the President's duty to maintain peace and public
safety is not limited only to the place where there is actual rebellion; it extends to
other areas where the present hostilities are in danger of spilling over. It is not
intended merely to prevent the escape of lawless elements from Marawi City, but
also to avoid enemy reinforcements and to cut their supply lines coming from
different parts of Mindanao. Thus, limiting the proclamation and/or suspension
to the place where there is actual rebellion would not only defeat the purpose of
declaring martial law, it will make the exercise thereof ineffective and useless.