Wednesday, April 12, 2006

1017: Ano Pa'ng Hinihintay Mo? (A Public Forum on Presidential Proclamation 1017)

The TWSC’s public forums are university-wide discussions aimed at clarifying various positions and facilitating critical exchange on burning issues that concern the public. Through these activities, the TWSC is able to position itself in the middle of national debates, serving as an avenue for dialogue.

The latest of these public forums was "1017: Ano Pa'ng Hinihintay Mo? (A Public Forum on Presidential Proclamation 1017)", with Alexander Magno (UP Department of Political Science) and Marvic Leonen (UP College of Law), held last 16 March 2006 at the Multimedia Room, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The forum was co-sponsored with the UP Department of Political Science. Raymund Jose G. Quilop (UP Department of Political Science) served as moderator. Here's a brief news account of the forum by Rod P. Fajardo III from the March 2006 issue of UP Newsletter Online:

PP 1017: What animal is it?

Last February 24, the country witnessed a cacophony of heated arguments over Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1017, which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued, declaring the nation under a state of emergency. When the President lifted the proclamation on March 3, more questions were raised.

To help clear the air, the UP Third World Studies Center organized a forum on March 16. Titled “1017: Ano Pa’ng Hinihintay Mo?” the forum featured two UP professors with opposing views on the proclamation—Political Science Professor Alex Magno and Vice President for Legal Affairs and Law Professor Marvic Leonen.

Prof. Magno lauded PP 1017, saying it saved the country from the economic slowdown that would have resulted from the failed coup. He said the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army and Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa/Young Officers’ Union carefully planned the coup with the aim of killing the President and, ultimately, decapitating the government.

PP 1017, he said, was simply a preemptive move to quell rebellion and not to arrogate additional powers to the President. “The principal intention [of PP 1017] was to prevent the exploitation of innocent citizens by a disgruntled faction of the military,” he said. “Protest leaders were held but not arrested. The Daily Tribune did not miss a single issue and came out as acid and angry as before. Military personnel were posted outside the TV stations and other media offices because these are usually the first targets during rebellion.”

Prof. Leonen, however, pointed out that the issuance of PP 1017 was a calculated move on the part of President Arroyo to ensure her staying power. He said that by noon of February 24, the military component of the supposed rebellion had been neutralized but “how do you handle the people questioning the legitimacy, not probably of the structure of the government but of one person who happens to be the incumbent president herself?”

One way is by silencing the protesters. And PP 1017, said Prof. Leonen, was just what the President needed to do so.

PP 1017, which he noted was an exact copy of PP 1081 used by former President Ferdinand Marcos to declare Martial Law in 1972, gave President Arroyo absolute power “to suppress all forms of lawless violence, as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion.” Thus the warrantless arrest of Prof. Randy David, the Batasan 6, journalists, and some others—all notable personalities critical of President Arroyo’s legitimacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment