Conrado De Quiros has this to say about Proc. 1017 in his column
"Proclamation 1017-it is one of God's mysterious ways that that should sound like Marcos' Proclamation 1081 plunging the country into the darkness of martial law-is a martial law decree, not an emergency act."While Manuel L. Quezon III, states
"THERE IS THIS POINT OF VIEW THAT A PRESIDENTIAL proclamation serves to publicize the state of mind of the chief executive. President Macapagal-Arroyo's Proclamation 1017 suggests a Marcosian state of mind. Lawyers have pointed out that the closing paragraph of the proclamation was lifted virtually verbatim from one of the most notorious proclamations in presidential and Philippine history: Proclamation 1081 of Sept. 21, 1972."And the AKBAYAN party's statement reads,
"This event is alarming not only because it is our leaders who are involved. It is alarming because we now know exactly what GMA is capable of doing. She is, infact, capable of invoking dictatorial powers to stay in control. Martial law by any name – Proclamation 1017, State of Emergency, warrantless arrest, wholesale ban on public protest, take-over of public utilities, closure of media facilities -- IS martial law. It is very apparent that the state of emergency is nothing but a veiled promise to initiate a sweeping crackdown on forces opposing GMA."concluding
" Democracy in this country has long been in the throes of death. Today, GMA has killed and buried it."Powerful stuff, yet it has one flaw. They are wrong. Proclamation 1017 is no Martial Law.
Yes the last part is almost a verbatim copy of Proclamation 1081 (google cache). And yes, even if we concede that President Arroyo wants wants to have "martial law" powers, the fact is she does not.
What happened when President Marcos declared Martial Law? According to this site
"On September 21, 1972, Marcos issued Proclamation 1081, declaring martial law over the entire country. Under the president's command, the military arrested opposition figures, including Benigno Aquino, journalists, student and labor activists, and criminal elements. A total of about 30,000 detainees were kept at military compounds run by the army and the Philippine Constabulary. Weapons were confiscated, and "private armies" connected with prominent politicians and other figures were broken up. Newspapers were shut down, and the mass media were brought under tight control. With the stroke of a pen, Marcos closed the Philippine Congress and assumed its legislative responsibilities. During the 1972-81 martial law period, Marcos, invested with dictatorial powers, issued hundreds of presidential decrees, many of which were never published."And according to NeverAgain.net
"Anybody could be picked up at anytime for any reason by the military or the police. You could wind up a detainee, or you could just vanish, a "salvage" victim. If you protested against the government, you were labeled a "subversive" or a "communist" or both and you were summarily arrested. People the government didn't like were tailed by security elements, their telephones tapped. A student who spoke up to Imee Marcos was murdered. No two words were more invoked and abused for the purposes of oppression than "national security." People were afraid to speak out. Marcos logic being what it was, the silence meant the people were happy."The Arroyo administration is taking a lot of liberties in their pursuit of the coup plotters. And to my mind, they have certainly done illegal/unconstitutional acts, the raid on the Tribune is one, but Martial Law it does not make.
Comparing Proclamation 1017 with Proclamation 1081 belittles the horror and sacrifice undergone by Filipinos at that time.
In ending I would like to quote the Philippine Supreme court. I got this quote from the Alternative Law Group's petition to declare Proclamation 1017 unconstitutional. They quoted a passage from the Supreme Court's ruling dismissing a petition to declare Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, declaring a State of Rebellion unconstitutional. I think, as the Alternative Law Group does, that the quotation can be applied with Proclamation 1017 , only they will try to prove that the government has done what the Supreme court ruled it had not at that time. The ruling states
"The argument that the declaration of a state of rebellion amounts to a declaration of martial law and, therefore, is a circumvention of the report requirement, is a leap of logic. There is no indication that military tribunals have replaced civil courts in the "theater of war" or that military authorities have taken over the functions of civil government. There is no allegation of curtailment of civil or political rights. There is no indication that the President has exercised judicial and legislative powers. In short, there is no illustration that the President has attempted to exercise or has exercised martial law powers."