A PULSE Asia survey released on Wednesday, January 11, revealed that seven out of 10 Filipinos do not see the need to impose martial law as a form of addressing various problems currently faced by the country.
According to the results, 74 percent of the respondents disagree with the statement: “Candidly speaking, it may be necessary now to have martial law to solve the many crises of the nation.”
On the other hand, 12 percent agreed with the statement while the remaining 14 percent were undecided.
Results also show that the disagreement was the majority sentiment across the country: 81 percent in Manila and 74 percent in Luzon overall, 75 percent in Mindanao, and 65 percent in the Visayas.
The poll, with an error margin of plus or minus three, was conducted from December 6 to 11 last year among a total of 1,200 respondents.
Following the survey results, Albay Representative Lagman urged President Rodrigo Duterte to “stop stalking about tinkering with the revival of martial law.”
According to Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, the poll reflects the “sentiments of the people.”
“As a leader, dapat mapakinggan niya ang sentimyento ng mamamayan. Matagal nang sinasabi ng mamamayan ‘Never again’ (As a leader, he should listen to the sentiments of the people. The people has long been saying ‘Never Again’),” Zarate said.
ACT Teachers Representative France Castro also expressed hope that the survey would serve as an “eye opener” for Duterte.
“Sana magsilbi ito na maging eye-opener, ito sinasabi na ng taumbayan at biktima [ng martial law]. Dapat irespeto niya din itong survey na ito (I hope that the survey would become an eye-opener, that this is what the people and the [martial law] victims want. He should respect the survey),” Castro said.
Last month, the president said that he is seeking to amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution to make it easier for any president to declare martial law.
Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the president of the Philippines may place the country under martial law in case of invasion or rebellion for not exceeding than 60 days; and that the president may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law.
The law, however, also gives Congress and the Supreme Court the power to review and revoke a president’s declaration of martial law.
Duterte said that he wanted to amend the Constitution because it would be difficult to declare martial law if Congress and the high court have different stances about it. He also argued that waiting for approvals from these government branches invalidates the purpose of the power to declare martial law.