#International Affairs
Government of the Republic of the Philippines
United States of America

We, the undersigned, say never again to martial law in any region of the Philippines under any circumstances. Never again should an authoritarian military regime rule with an iron fist over the Filipino people. Never again should democracy, civil liberties, and press freedom be suppressed.

Never again should the writ of habeas corpus be suspended by the Philippine government, allowing for warrantless raids, arrests, and seizures to be conducted by the Philippine military against innocent civilians in the Philippines. Never again should military commissions be created to take over the powers of civilian courts and the judicial system. Never again should individuals in disagreement with the Philippine government's policies be systematically assassinated or rounded up, imprisoned, and tortured just for their political beliefs. Never again should such a civilian-military dictatorship in the Philippines enjoy the backing of the US government.
We, the undersigned, know the shadows of over a decade of martial law in the Philippines as declared by the late fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972, have left behind deep scars upon generations of Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world. Such scars must never again be inflicted upon present or future generations. The imposition of Martial Law by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Presidential Proclamation 1959 on December 4th, 2009 marks the first time in 37 years that a Philippine head of state has reintroduced those words "martial law" as an official policy. Such a declaration, if left to corrupted powers in the Philippine government, sets a dangerous precedent for the return of martial law once again as a national policy for the purposes of seizing dictatorial powers and assuring the Arroyo administration's stay in office past its termination in 2010. If Martial Law cannot be terminated in Maguindanao, then there will be no genuine freedom in all the other parts of the Philippine archipelago.
We, the undersigned, believe Philippine Military and National Police have been used to enforce the tyrannical rule of the brutal Marcos dictatorship and to commit electoral fraud and violate human rights in the counter-insurgency program of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.  Para-military groups and militias such as the CAFGUs and the CVOs have been organized by the Philippine military and police and politicians-warlords, giving a trend to the privatization of state security forces and agents.
We, the undersigned, note that the United States Foreign Policy declared the Philippines, and Mindanao in particular, as the second theater of the US-led global war against international terrorism.  The Visiting Forces Agreement between the US and the Philippines implements this US-led war against terrorism. Close to $200 million dollars from the US tax-payers money have been granted annually as military aid to the Philippine government.  This money, earmarked for the implementation of the US-Philippine Joint Military Reform Program and the Modernization Plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is actually used to develop a sophisticated Philippine counter-insurgency program guided by the January 2009 US Counter-Insurgency Manual.  The US Foreign Policy gives military aid to the Philippines only to be used by the Philippine government to buy US military hardware and armaments.

Therefore  we call for:

1. The state of martial law in Maguindanao as declared by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  through  Proclamation 1959 on December 4, 2009, must be lifted immediately.

2. Clean, honest, and democratic elections must be held on May 10th, 2010 throughout the Philippines.

3. Justice for the victims of the gruesome Maguindanao Massacre must be sought through a thorough, fair, and impartial criminal investigation conducted by an independent prosecutor, and, if this becomes impossible, by an international body as the Arroyo government is culpable for the massacre due to its close political ties with the Ampatuan family, the presence of elements of the Philippine military and police during the commission of the crime, including the supply of arms and bullets coming from the military arsenal in the commission of the crime.

4. US military aid to the Philippines, used for the training, advising, and arming of the Philippine military and private armies, must be cut;  the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) must be reviewed and terminated;  US troops in the Philippines must be pulled out, and any future aid must have a restrictive language that makes respect and protection of human rights and the prosecution of human rights violators as necessary conditions.

5. Because of her many crimes, including the barbaric massacre of civilians which includes 34 journalists in Maguindanao, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be unseated from her post as President of the Philippines and be prohibited from pursuing any other elective position in Philippine government.  Foreign governments, national and local Philippine officials and non-government organizations must withdraw their recognition of and support for her criminal and plundering regime.  She must be put to trial to serve the ends of justice, the promotion and defense of human rights and peace.
6. Martial law, emergency rule and similar repressive proposals in the Philippine legislature must be rejected in order to achieve good governance marked by pro-people, pro-democracy principles.

Signed (Initial Convenors):
1. Atty. Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General
2. Atty. Leonard Weinglass, International Human Rights Lawyer
3. Bishop Valentin Lorejo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente
4. Prof. Ligaya McGovern, Indiana University
5. Baltazar Pinguel, Anti-Marcos Activist and former Political Prisoner
6. Atty. Arnedo Valera, Legal Counsel, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
7. Dr. Orly Apiado, cardiologist, Movement for a Free Philippines
8. Fr. Benjamin Alforque, President, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
9. Dr. Benjamin Ileto, anesthesiologist, community and anti-Martial Law activist
10. Dr. Dante Simbulan, Anti-Marcos Activist and former Political Prisoner
11. Tim McGloin, Friends of the Filipino People
12. Atty. Felix Vinluan, Justice for Sentosa 27++ Campaign
13. Geo Quibuyen, Blue Scholars
14. Raquel R. Redondiez, Chair, GABRIELA USA
15. Katrina Abarcar, Katarungan
16. Bernadette Ellorin, Chair, BAYAN USA
17. Robert Roy, National Executive Director, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
18. Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General, BAYAN USA
19. Chito Quijano, Auditor, International League of Peoples' Struggle
20. Dr. Peter Chua, National Bulosan Center
21. Prof. E San Juan Jr., Philippines Studies Cultural Center
22. Emil De Guzman
23. Melissa Roxas
24. Ramon Mappala, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
25. Noel Pangilinan, former Editor-in-Chief, Freeman (Cebu, Philippines) and UP Collegian
26. Prof. Joi Barrios
27. Fr. Tony Abuan, MS, Treasurer, NAFCON and Former Director- Filipino Ministry, Diocese of San Bernardino

and the undersigned:

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The Never Again to Martial Law petition to Government of the Republic of the Philippines was written by Never Again to Martial Law! and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.