Defining Martial Law based on its literal import as provided in the constitution will be very easy to explain. However, deepening our understanding into the actual application of its meaning in the light what’s happening in war-torn Marawi City and the ramification it brings to the people in Mindanao makes the job of learned Justices of the Supreme Court tedious and at best, an intelligence test.
We are aware that Supreme Court Justices work as a collegial body. There is no one among them who can claim the monopoly of knowledge to unravel the complex issue laid before it by the oppositors of the declaration of Martial Law.
Currently, Martial Law is used by government as its ultimate weapon against Maute and Abu Sayyaf to protect the citizenry from the outbreak of lawlessness and violence. To date, no report of any media entity, political leaders or civilian being subjected to abuses by the implementers of Martial Law.
Bottom line, Martial Law is declared in order not to abuse or coerce civilians or political foes. It is not conceptualized to vest the declarant with absolute power. Most importantly, Martial Law is enshrined in the constitution and unarguably a legal remedy which the Chief Executive can invoke in the exercise of his executive prerogative and function. It is not illegal. It becomes one when people of vested interest capitalize on the issue of Martial Law and undermine its laudable meaning by twisting it to create confusion in the mind of the people.