Philippines History

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Martial law, "Philippine style", has mainly been criticized as the end of democracy in the Philippines. This attack has come primarily from the constitutionalists, civil libertarians and legalists. This conclusion is based mainly in the fusion in one-man of all powers of government, resulting in the destruction of the legal institutions and their underlying principles consistent with a democratic state. Essential to their criterion of a democratic state is the existence of certain legal institutions. These are mainly, a constitution which outlines the structure of government and defines its power, a tripartite structure of government and a system of popular elections.

The theory underlying these institutions is that government exists for the people, their sovereign will embodied in a constitution, insuring that their representatives who are chosen through popular elections shall pursue their interests and keep within the limits set therein. Furthermore, that the governmental structure consisting of three co-equal departments co-exist under the principle of check and balance, seeing to it that each brand. does not exceed the bounds set by the fundamental law and by statutes. The value of these legal institutions in any modern day society is without question. However, it is their ability to function in accordance to their avowed purpose under given socio-economic relations which is subject to serious examination.

Wittingly or unwittingly, the above view seriously implies that democracy was an existing fact previous to martial law. It tends to assert that martial law is an accident in our legal processes. That it is a reaction to the socio-political events of the 70's and the threat it posed upon the political power held by · a...
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