DND issues memo to AFP on declaration of martial law
The Department of National Defense issued a memorandum to the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its guidance on the presidential declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
The memorandum signed by Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs Eduardo Del Rosario, dated May 24, instructed the military and all bureaus and agencies under the defense department to observe the rule of law and human rights in Mindanao.
“In this connection, the AFP and all bureaus and agencies of this Department are hereby enjoined that the rule of law and human rights should prevail in the place or part of the Philippines where the Martial Law was declared and effective,” it stated.
“Any arrest, search and seizure executed or implemented in the area or place where Martial Law is effective, including the filing of charges, should comply with the Revised Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence,” it added.
DND Public Affairs Director Arsenio Andolong said the memorandum is still valid except for the part on the writ of habeas corpus as it was crafted before Duterte made his pronouncement on the suspension of the of habeas corpus late afternoon of Wednesday.
“The memo was issued at around 11 a.m. yesterday (Wednesday) while the President and SND (Secretary National Defense) was inbound from Russia. President's pronouncement suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was issued upon his arrival the evening," he said.
"The suspension requires a separate pronouncement. Maybe another one might be issued. The Cabinet is now meeting in Davao City. We find out later," he added.
The memorandum also noted that the “DND bureaus and agencies involved in humanitarian activities are hereby enjoined to institute appropriate action on those affected and displaced persons by providing adequate assistance in coordination with other government agencies.”
Despite suspension of the writ of habeas corpus announced by President Rodrigo Duterte upon his arrival from the shortened visit in Russia, the first part of the memo states “the declaration of Martial Law in the Island of Mindanao does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplement the functioning of the Philippine judicial and legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilian where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.” Robina Asido/DMS