MANILA – UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has dismissed "imagined fears" that a Ferdinand ”Bongbong” Marcos Jr. presidency is a prelude to another dictatorship and martial law era in the country.
The anti-Marcos group's "paranoia," Roque said, should stop as institutional safeguards and international mechanisms are in place to deter any sitting Philippine president from ever placing the nation under martial rule.
The former presidential spokesman said the 1987 Constitution provides stringent legislative and judicial oversight related to the country's declaration and imposition of martial law.
Roque cited the presence of international bodies like the United Nation's Human Rights Council and Human Rights Committee that address human rights issues and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that administers criminal justice to perpetrators of gravest crimes.
"Contrary to the disinformation campaign of Marcos detractors, I believe that there won't be a repeat of a martial law regime in the Philippines," Roque said in a news release on Thursday. "Only paranoid individuals would believe otherwise."
"The reactionary nature of the 1987 Constitution relative to our martial law experience limits the grounds for and acts as a deterrent to any imposition of martial law," added the former lawmaker and UP law professor.
Then-President Ferdinand Marcos, the UniTeam standard bearer's father, placed the country under martial law in 1972 and lifted it in 1981.
"Our Constitution vests the power on the Supreme Court and Congress to review the judicial and factual basis of a martial law proclamation. The government is mandated to strictly observe these strict requirements," Roque said.
He said Congress could not be abolished under any circumstance and that any Filipino citizen can question its legality before the Supreme Court.
Martial law, he said, does not grant the armed forces or the police blanket authority to abuse the citizens' rights.
"Besides, we cannot hold the former Senator responsible for the official acts of his parents during that era. He was in his teens during the early years of martial law," Roque said.
"Bongbong Marcos has not been convicted of any human rights violations per my legal due diligence," Roque said. "So, I do not see his administration committing such acts."
Praising the younger Marcos' statesmanship and inner confidence, Roque said, "I do not believe our leading presidentiable is predisposed to a one-man rule of the country because he is very much aware of the Philippine experience under and post-marital law."
Under Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution, martial law may be declared in the Philippines or any part thereof in cases of an invasion or rebellion when public safety requires it.
The President shall submit a report in person or in writing to Congress within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
The Congress, voting jointly, may revoke such proclamation or suspension by a majority vote.
The Supreme Court may review the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof.
Other remedies for protecting civil and political rights issued by the Supreme Court under the Constitution, namely the Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Corpus, remain in place, Roque said. (PR)