Martial law in Maguindanao is due to be lifted in under one hour from now. The reason given by the National Security Council is that it already accomplished its mission of bringing back civilian authority, defeating the Maguindanao “rebels,” and arresting the Ampatuan clan perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre.
Well and good, bu this has still to be taken with a grain of salt. Congress was due to vote on the declaration of martial law on December 15 and word is that it will be revoked for lack of factual and constitutional basis. Likewise, the Supreme Court is about to start hearing arguments against it and there are indications it will also issue an unfavorable decisions against it.
It is also to be noted that the declaration of martial law–though dividing the public for sometime–found no popular support even among those who supported the search for justice for the Maguindanao massacre victims. Senator Miriam Defensor’s expose of an extended martial law leaves no room to maneuver for any alleged plotter.
So, what exactly did martial law declaration accomplished? To cite one, it broke the psychological barrier that stemmed from the bad experience of martial law under the Marcos dictatorship and paves the way for a repeat performance in the future. Not that it would succeed–the popular condemnation it got from a broad range of the political spectrum means it is a very difficult proposition to sell.
The lifting, by no means, will buy popularity for administration candidates. It actually will make life more difficult for them as people and the voters will become more wary of the way administration people wields power.
It is a step backward for them. However, the future is another thing.