Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why rebellion?

I find it hard to believe that the government filed rebellion against the members of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao.
Even with the advent of modern technology no iota of evidence---not a photograph, not a video--- has been shown of any actual public uprising and taking up of arms against the government, against any of those charged with rebellion.
The Ampatuans are fiercely loyal to the Arroyo government because of their mutual, “complementary” interests.
But why did the government have to charge the Ampatuans with rebellion, so as to justify the imposition of martial in Maguidnao province?
My gut feeling tells me that this rebellion charge against the Ampatuans are a concoction, a figment of one’s imagination.
We are going back to the Marcos era martial law, where people are made to rely on military “intelligence reports” about a rebellion or insurrection.
So the civilians are---as before---made to place their faith in the military’s word, or the military’s ”intelligence,” that there indeed exist grounds for the declaration of martial law.
But as to actual physical evidence, like simple photographs and videos, there is no evidence of any actual public uprising or the taking up for arms.
This is dangerous.
My feeling tells me that declaring martial law gives the government several key, tactical advantages, both legally and politically.
Let me venture into one probable motivation why the government declared martial law.
The government declared martial law, because it was a means of justifying warrantless arrests on the Ampatuans.
Except for Andal Ampatuan Jr., the first clan member to be arrested, there is hardly any legal justification for any warrantless arrests on the other clan members.
A warrantless arrest can only be justified if the murder has just been committed.
But in the November 23 massacre, several days had already lapsed since the incident.
The laspe of many days served to negate the validity of further warrantless arrests for the crime of murder.
So what did the government do?
Accusing the Ampatuans of rebellion is a convenient tactic, because by so doing, it would justify the continued warrantless arrests on the other members of the Ampatuan clan.
Warrantless arrests upon persons charged with rebellion are justified because rebellion is considered a “continuing” crime.
So the government is hitting several birds with one stone with these imaginary rebellion theory.
First, it gave justification for the declaration of martial law.
Second, it justified the warrantless arrests, which otherwise would already be legally defective if the charge were merely murder.
But what I fear is that this rebellion charge against the Ampatuans may not stand in court.
Yet I feel, that may precisely be the whole point.

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