Martial Law

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  • Topic: Philippines, President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos
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Martial law in the Philippines (Tagalog: Batas Militar sa Pilipinas) refers to the period of Philippine history wherein Philippine Presidents and Heads of state declared a proclamation to control troublesome areas under the rule of the Military, and it is usually given when threatened by popular demonstrations, or to crack down on the opposition. Martial law can also be declared in cases of major natural disasters, however most countries use a different legal construct like "state of emergency".

Typically, the imposition of martial law accompanies curfews, the suspension of civil law, civil rights, habeas corpus, and the application or extension of military law or military justice to civilians. Civilians defying martial law may be subjected to military tribunals (court-martial).

History of martial law proclamations

Ramon Blanco

Hostilities that began the Philippine Revolution started on the evening of August 29, 1896, when hundreds of rebels attacked the Civil Guard garrison in Pasig, just as hundreds of other rebels personally led by Andrés Bonifacio were massing in San Juan del Monte, which they attacked hours later on the 30th. Bonifacio planned to capture the San Juan del Monte powder magazine along with a water station supplying Manila. The defending Spaniards, outnumbered, fought a delaying battle until reinforcements arrived. Once reinforced, the Spaniards drove Bonifacio's forces back with heavy casualties. Elsewhere rebels attacked Mandaluyong, Sampaloc, Sta. Ana, Pandacan, Pateros, Marikina, and Caloocan,[1] as well as Makati and Taguig.[2] Balintawak in Caloocan saw intense fighting. Rebel troops tended to gravitate towards fighting in San Juan del Monte and Sampaloc. South of Manila, a thousand-strong rebel force attacked a small force of civil guards. In Pandacan Katipuneros attacked the parish church, making the parish priest run for his life.[2]

After their defeat in San Juan del Monte, Bonifacio's troops regrouped near Marikina, San Mateo and Montalban, where they proceeded to attack these areas. They captured these areas but were driven back by Spanish counterattacks, and Bonifacio eventually ordered a retreat to Balara. On the way, Bonifacio was nearly killed shielding Emilio Jacinto from a Spanish bullet that grazed his collar.[2] Despite his reverses, Bonifacio was not completely defeated and was still considered a threat.[1]

North of Manila, the towns of San Francisco de Malabon, Noveleta and Kawit in Cavite rose in rebellion.[2] In Nueva Ecija rebels in San Isidro led by Mariano Llanera attacked the Spanish garrison on September 2–4; they were repulsed.[3]

By August 30, the revolt had spread to eight provinces. On that date, Governor-General Blanco declared a "state of war" in these provinces and placed them under martial law. These were Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas, and Nueva Ecija.[4][2] They would later be represented in the eight rays of the sun in the Filipino flag.[5] Despite such declaration, which provided a 48-hour period in giving amnesty to rebels except their leaders, Blanco adopted a conciliatory or "keep cool" stance, seeking to improve Spain’s image in the face of world opinion.[6]

Emilio Aguinaldo

After the outbreak of Spanish–American War, Emilio Aguinaldo, who succeeded Bonifacio as the paramount leader of the Filipino revolutionaries, returned to the Philippines from his exile in Hong Kong on May 19, 1898 with 13 of his staff. He was encouraged to return by the Americans, who saw in him as an opportunity in their war against Spain.[7] After five days, on May 23, Aguinaldo issued a proclamation in which he assumed command of all Philippine military forces and established a dictatorial government with himself as dictator.[8]

On 12 June, at Aguinaldo's ancestral home in Cavite, Philippine independence was proclaimed and The Act of Declaration of Philippine Independence was read. The act had been prepared and written in Spanish...
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