Enrile Thinks 'Imminent Danger' Should Be Restored as a Ground to Declare Martial Law
Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile wants to bring back “imminent danger” as a ground for declaring martial law. The 1987 Constitution puts limits to the cicrumstances in which the President may declare martial law. The President may declare martial law “for a period not exceeding 60 days in cases of rebellion and invasion, when public safety requires it.”
During a hearing on constitutional ammendments, Senator Robinhood Padilla, who chairs the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, asked Enrile’s opinion on whether “imminent danger” should be brought back as a basis for declariing martial law. Enrile claimed that the late President Corazon Aquino intentionally removed that provision.
“Sinadya iyan para humina ang kapangyarihan ng Republika ng Pilipinas. Basta nahawakan nila iyong Saligang Batas na iyan, gusto nilang pahinahin sapagkat ang kanilang goal is to take over the power of the Republic. Nothing more, nothing less,” Enrile said.
(“That was done on purpose to weaken the power of the Republic of the Philippines. When they crafted that Constitution, they intended to weaken it so they can take over the power of the Republic. Nothing more, nothing less.”)
“Ibig sabihin ni Cory, kung nandiyan na iyong giyera, binabaril na iyong mga sundalo natin at mga pulis, saka lang ako magdeklara ng martial law, hindi pwede iyon eh,” Enrile said.
(“What Cory meant, is when war is already happening and our soldiers and police men are already under fire, that’s the time to declare martial law.”)
For Enrile, an iron fist is needed in times of imminent danger.
“Gamitin mo ang kamay na bakal para nang sa ganoon ay masugpo iyong problema na iyan at walang tao na masasamantala o mamamatay dahil tamad ka o takot ka na magdesisyon.”
(“In times of danger, you have to be iron-fisted to defeat the problem and prevent people from dying and suffering because of your laziness, fear, or indecision.”)
The Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) states that 11,103 people suffered human rights violations under the late President Marcos’s dictatorship. Enrile, who served as Defense Minister during the late Marcos’s administration. He played a key role in implementing Martial Law.