BAYAN on the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao:

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo crossed the line

 

December 5, 2009

 

Video Clips

 

 

 
   
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Press conference of progressive partylists on martial law in Maguindanao

           

 

News Release – December 5, 2009
Reference: House Deputy Minority Leader Satur C. Ocampo, 0917.8226184

Satur condemns GMA Martial Law proclamation; urges Congress joint session to revoke Proclamation 1959

Deputy Minority Leader, Makabayan President and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today condemned “as unconstitutional overkill Malacanang’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao via its Proclamation 1959.” He urged his colleagues in Congress and the Senate to exercise their legislative authority to revoke Proclamation 1959.

“Pres. Arroyo is once again abusing her authority and going beyond the limits of her powers. The Philippine Constitution states that the President can declare martial law or suspend the writ of habeas corpus in case of an invasion or rebellion. Neither of these conditions exist in Maguindanao, ergo Proclamation 1959 is unconstitutional. The reported massing of armed groups does not yet constitute rebellion and can be dealt with under a state of emergency. Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo must within 48 hours report her action to Congress. The latter must review the grounds for the declaration and revoke it for not complying with the Constitution,” Ocampo said.

“Congress must act now. The progressive partylist bloc will question the proclamation when Congress resumes session and file a resolution calling for a joint session to revoke Proclamation 1959 on Monday,” Ocampo said.

He said that the Arroyo government’s attempt to justify the declaration by saying that civilian institutions are no longer functioning and that the dispensation of justice would not be possible is not acceptable. #

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NEWS RELEASE - Dec. 6, 2009

References: Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, Makabayan President
Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares
Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino

Progressive party list bloc to file resolution vs. martial law tomorrow, demands immediate action from Congress

Eight representatives composing the Makabayan coalition bloc in the House of Representatives have vowed to spearhead the fight against Proclamation 1959 in the House and are filing a resolution tomorrow seeking to revoke the President's imposition of martial law in Maguindanao.

The Makabayan coalition in the House is composed of representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna; Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela, Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis and Raymond Palatino of Kabataan. All, except the young Palatino, were active in the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggle.

In a press conference this morning, the bloc said they would do everything humanly possible to oppose what they called an emerging Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dictatorship.

They reiterated their stand that Proclamation 1959 was unconstitutional as there is no rebellion or invasion in Maguindanao. They also said it was unnecessary since a state of emergency had already been declared in the area and the AFP, PNP and other government agencies had enough powers to deal with the aftermath of the Maguindanao massacre.

"We believe that Proclamation 1959 is meant to be a precedent. It is an attempt to impose martial law even without the requirements specified in the Constitution. If the GMA gets away with this one in Maguindanao, she can get away with it in any other province or the whole country," they said.

They said they would make sure Proclamation 1959 would not go unchallenged in Congress or in the Supreme Court.

"We demand that Congress act immediately to revoke Proclamation 1959 and protect our people from similar threats to their democratic rights and freedoms," they said.
The bloc also said they would join and support all rallies and demonstrations against Proclamation 1959 and for the resignation or ouster of Pres. Arroyo. ###
 

In a press conference today, Dec. 6,  progressive partylist representatives condemned Proclamation 1959 and tore copies of the unconstitutional overkill of a martial law declaration.
The members of Congress will file a joint resolution to revoke said proclamation tomorrow.
News release is below the line.

 

Photos courtesy of  Makabayan Coalition

   

 

 

Moro-Christian interfaith group denounces Martial Law in Maguindanao

 

6 December 2009

 

The Moro-Christian People’s Alliance (MCPA) today joins the widening and mounting opposition to the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao. The interfaith group demands that President Arroyo revoke Proclamation 1959.

 

MCPA is appalled by the “rebellion was in the offing” basis of the Arroyo government in issuing Proclamation 1959. Declaring Martial Law has always been in President Arroyo’s mind to silence the people’s massive protest actions against her fascist, corrupt and avid pro-US imperialist administration, especially at the height of the “hello Garci” and NBN-ZTE scandals.  It is the people’s strong determination to challenge and oppose Martial Law which forced President Arroyo to withdraw her dictatorial idea. 

 

The Maguindanao mass murder, perpetrated by her political allies that she has actually empowered since she took office in 2001, is another political scandal and blunder in the Arroyo administration.  It is a horrible scandal that drew worldwide public outrage and condemnation.

 

The declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao is Arroyo’s desperate act to save face especially in the international community.  It is a desperate way of trying to extricate her administration from the public’s outrage.  President Arroyo wants to create an illusion of being a strong leader who comes down hard on the Ampatuans, her close and favored political allies, whom the Department of Justice  and the AFP have accused of mounting rebellion against the Arroyo government.

 

 

But President Arroyo also intends to cover up her own culpability in the November 23 massacre that has implicated the Ampatuans, her most reliable ally in the province. President Arroyo cannot disengage herself from the Ampatuans because she, through the government bureaucracy and the military, has sanctioned the existence of warlords not only in Maguindanao but in many parts of the country.

 

The MCPA also questions the timing of the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao.  Proclamation 1946, issued on November 24 proclaiming state of emergency situation in the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat and the City of Cotabato, has already neutralized the Ampatuans’ military and political power.  Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr, the prime suspect in the gruesome massacre, has been arrested and detained.  The Ampatuan armory of huge cache of firearms and ammunitions has been discovered and confiscated.  Some 400 firearms believed to be used by the CVOs have been confiscated.  The Ampatuans have already been suspended by the DILG from their local government positions. 

 

The MCPA believes there’s other veiled motive in proclaiming Martial Law in Maguindanao; motive that is deeper than the purpose of ending the Ampatuans oppressive, corrupt and criminal rule in the ARMM.  Viewed within the context of the coming 2010 elections and given the trails of electoral fraud associated with the Arroyo administration, the “rebellion was in the offing” basis of declaring Martial Law in Maguindanao can be conveniently used in areas considered as election hotspots like Samar, Bicol, Masbate and other provinces where strong and abusive military presence is highly challenged by Moro and non-Moro revolutionary groups.

 

No to Martial Law!

Oppose Martial Law in Maguindanao!

End impunity!

 

 

Reference:    Antonio Liongson, National Coordinator, Human Rights Program, CP# 09152844654

 

 

           

Militant organizations rally vs martial law

           
     
Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag, NUPL spokesperson Renato Reyes, Bayan Secretary General
           

 

Press Statement
December 5, 2009, 12:30 pm

Statement on the declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo crossed the line.

The declaration of a state of Martial Law in Maguindanao sets a most dangerous precedent for the nation. Not since September 21, 1972 has there been any declaration of Martial Law, not even during the years of tumult under the Aquino, Estrada and, prior to this, the Arroyo regime. For the first time since 1972, the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended in an area in the Philippines.

We reiterate our call for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre but we cannot support measures that are both dangerous and questionable.

The alleged purpose of Proclamation 1959 is the arrest of the Ampatuan family members who are implicated in the November 23 Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre. The regime justifies the declaration in saying that civilian institutions, especially the courts, are no longer functioning and that the dispensation of justice would not be possible.

The Constitution states that Martial Law can only be declared during an invasion or during a rebellion. The failure of civilian government institutions, as in the case of the local government offices and courts in Maguindanao, cannot be used as a pretext for declaring Martial Law. The difficulty of gathering evidence, securing warrants and enforcing arrests also cannot be used as a basis for the declaration.

We demand the lifting of Martial Law in Maguindanao and the restoration of the civilian government institutions. Martial Law cannot solve the problem of state-sponsored warlordism and violence in the province. Martial Law will always lead to abuses because those implementing it, the Arroyo regime, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, have very poor human rights records.

The national government must swiftly restore the civilian administrative and judicial institutions in the province.

If Mrs. Arroyo refuses to lift the declaration, we call on Congress to exercise its powers to revoke Martial Law. Mrs. Arroyo is required by the Constitution to report to Congress within 48 hours. It falls on Congress, though dominated by Arroyo loyalists, to revoke this dangerous declaration. We must not wait for the maximum 60-day period allowed by the Constitution for the enforcement of martial rule. The leaders of the Lower House and Senate must convene within 24 hours to address this issue.

That Martial Law has been declared in a province less than six months before the national elections raises fresh fears that similar scenarios can also follow, thus severely undermining the conduct of the 2010 polls to benefit the incumbent president. We must not allow this scenario to be replicated in other regions for whatever pretexts. If Arroyo can declare martial law for reasons not defined in the constitution, imagine what she can do before the 2010 elections.

The Arroyo regime and its police and military have to be made accountable for its role in arming the Ampatuan family. The recently discovered arms cache in the Ampatuan residence shows the complicity of the AFP, PNP and the regime in supplying weapons to the local warlords. With this kind of track record, how do you trust the AFP and PNP with the vast powers of Martial rule? This kind of corruption and complicity cannot be solved by the declaration of Martial rule. l

We have learned the bitter lessons of Martial Law even as we are acutely aware of the propensity for abuse by the current regime. As we continue to demand justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, we call on the public to remain vigilant at this time against possible abuses on civilians that may stem from this declaration. ###
 

Anakapawis Rep. Rafael Marano
Gabriela partylist Rep. Luz Ilagan
Ken Ramos, Anakpawis
           
     
     
     

News Statement
December 4, 2009
Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:secgen@bayanusa.org

Power, Not Justice, is What Arroyo Seeks With Martial Law
BAYAN USA Urges Phil. Congress to Revoke Proclamation 1959, Demands Obama Withdraw Support

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations across the United States is urging Filipinos in the United States and around the world to heighten their vigilance and resolve against the Arroyo government's recent declaration of a State of Martial Law in the Southern Philippine province of Maguindanao. Following Arroyo's signing of Presidential Proclamation 1959 last Friday, the Philippine Congress is set to resume on Monday, will review Arroyo's action, and will vote on it.

"This is not about seeking justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. This is about taking advantage of what is perhaps the most insolent election-related act of violence in recent Philippine history to justify abuse of executive powers," states BAYAN USA Chair Berna Ellorin. "Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does nothing but dishonor the 64+ massacred last November 23rd in Maguindanao by riding on the tragedy to serve her own narrow interest to cling to power, especially when her Presidential term must end next year."

No Justice for Maguindanao Massacre Victims Under Arroyo

The alliance chided the Arroyo government's delayed handling of the Maguindanao massacre as intentional and supported growing calls for a third party to conduct an impartial, thorough investigation of the crime scene and ensure swift arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. But the lack of timely effort on the Arroyo government's part to go after the obvious suspects-- the Ampatuan family, a powerful political dynasty that has ruled Maguindanao for over a decade-- clearly posed roadblocks to justice.

Nearly two weeks after the massacre, and with only one suspect in custody who voluntarily surrendered, Arroyo signed Proclamation 1959, placing Maguindanao province under a State of Martial Law, under the auspices of arresting the other members of the Ampatuan family and calling them in for questioning.

"The Arroyos and Ampatuans are close political allies, therefore the Arroyo government is in no rightful position to present itself as capable of enacting swift justice, especially in light of key witnesses coming forward confirming their long-time political patronage included the sales of arms, arms that were used to kill last week," Ellorin added.

"Declaring martial law does not negate the Arroyo government's policy of impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses," Ellorin continued. "It is a means to mask the Arroyo government's own culpability in the massacre itself and consolidate power through military rule under a military well-documented for sowing the country's human rights crisis with the assistance of US military aid."

Obama Standing on the Wrong Side of History?

Since it's founding in 2005, BAYAN USA has been actively campaigning for the withdrawal of US military aid to the Philippines, which account for the training, advising, and arming of the Philippine military under Arroyo. A US Senate hearing in 2007 raised concerns that funding from the US government was directly linked to rampant pattern of state-sponsored killings and disappearances of critics
of the Arroyo government.

Referring to his now-famous inaugural words criticizing world leaders who "cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent," the alliance also welcomed the Obama administration last January in Washington DC with calls to withdraw all forms of support to the Arroyo government for its proven track record in corruption, fraud, and gross human rights violations.

"If Obama stands with Arroyo's proclamation of Martial Law, he is no different than Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan whose support for the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos fostered and enabled a dark period in Philippine history when warrantless arrests, torture, and assassinations were routine for the ruling military but terrorizing for the Filipino people," Ellorin claimed. "The international community, especially US tax payers, play a role in pressuring both the US and Philippine governments to ensure the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao, an end to policy of impunity for human rights abusers in the Philippines, and that justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre is truly obtained void of the Arroyo government's handling. ###

     
           
     
     

 

National Union of Peoples' Lawyers

 

‘Martial law and suspension of writ privilege’:
No sufficient factual basis, patently illegal, a brazen abuse of president’s power
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to file Petition in Supreme Court on Monday


“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has gone berserk.”

This is the reaction of human rights law group National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) on the president’s issuance of Proclamation No. 1959 proclaiming a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao.

It is elementary in political law that such declaration and suspension may be made only ‘in case of invasion or rebellion’ and only ‘when the public safety requires it,’ under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The proclamation’s third whereas clause merely invokes an element of rebellion of “depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.”

The proclamation’s fourth whereas clause simply says, “WHEREAS, heavily armed groups in the province of Maguindanao have established positions to resist government troops, thereby depriving the Executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety.”

That is all there is to it. The proclamation did not even bother to state the particulars about the identity, extent and purpose or purposes of these ‘heavily armed groups’. How could we ascertain if the president is indeed telling us the truth?

And even assuming that the president is telling us the truth this time, the ‘presence’ of heavily armed groups in the area does not necessarily mean that there is already rebellion.

The gravamen of the felony of rebellion is the armed public uprising against the government, as clearly defined in Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, “Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. — The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.

More importantly, the powers and prerogatives of the president as the chief executive or of the legislature have never been deprived to them since the Ampatuan town massacre happened. Thus, there is no rebellion to speak of. In fact, the president has already invoked and exercised as commander-in-chief her ‘calling out power’ after the Ampatuan town massacre when the president has called out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence in the province.

The ‘calling out power’ is entirely different from the president’s ‘powers to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus ’.

There has never been such deprivation of powers or prerogatives of the chief executive or the legislature. The president had even time to file her certificate of candidacy to run as member of the House of Representatives in next year’s elections. So where did Malacañang get the idea of such deprivation of powers or prerogatives?

Not only does the president have to prove that rebellion indeed exists, she likewise has to prove that ‘public safety requires’ the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus .

Public safety in the area can be ensured even without such declaration and suspension. The president’s exercise of her ‘calling out power’ is more than enough to prevent or suppress any lawless violence or even a supposed rebellion, if any. There is no need for the president to invoke and exercise her highest and extraordinary powers: the ‘martial law power’ and the ‘power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus ’.

Worse, the text of Proclamation No. 1959 is clearly bereft of any sufficient factual basis for such declaration and suspension. This is an unequivocal and brazen abuse of the president’s powers under the Constitution, plain and simple. Hence, it is very obvious that Malacañang’s ‘factual basis’ is not true at all. The president is testing the outer limits of the Constitution; the president is playing fire with fundamental freedoms by placing the military above civilian authorities.

We remind the president and state security forces that a state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution. Thus, warrantless arrests of any person must still be through a lawful cause. And given the record of the military in human rights abuses, we must ensure that no torture or cruel or degrading treatment will be inflicted against anyone that may be arrested.

A person may be detained for a period of three (3) days without even being charged due to the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus .

The president’s exercise of the ‘martial law and suspension of writ privilege powers’ is a patent indication that the president is a megalomaniac, a person obsessed with wealth and power. As the president’s term and immunity from suit shall expire at
noon of June 30, 2010 and plunder cases and human rights abuses shall certainly be immediately filed against her, it is not impossible for her to think about placing the entire country under martial law to perpetuate herself in power and avoid punishment for her crimes.

If she desires to be another Marcos, she will fail. The people will ensure it.

This coming Monday, we shall immediately file a petition before the Supreme Court to question Malacañang’s sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus .

Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag

0927.9293089

 

     
     
     
           

 

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Napoleon Pornasdoro Bldg., Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website www.actphils.com
Member, Education International

December 5, 2009
PRESS STATEMENT
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

Statement on Arroyo’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao

We vehemently condemn Pres. Gloria Arroyo for declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Maguindanao, ostensibly to enable the authorities to carry out justice for the Ampatuan massacre.

We are one with the public in demanding justice for the victims of Ampatuan. Not only must those directly responsible be swiftly brought to justice, but Malacanang, the military and the police must also be held accountable for coddling and arming the Ampatuan clan named as responsible for the massacre. However, we cannot allow Malacanang to use our outrage at the massacre to justify this dangerous and unconstitutional declaration of martial law.

We are outraged that Mrs. Arroyo and her clique are exploiting one of the most gruesome mass murders in recent history and the widespread public outcry for justice as the pretext for this unwarranted abuse of presidential power. Yet again, the Arroyo regime is demonstrating its utter disrespect for democratic institutions and sheer disregard for the norms of human decency.

The declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are allowed by the Constitution only in cases of invasion or rebellion. Neither of these are present in Maguindanao. Arroyo’s Proclamation 1959 is therefore unjustifiable and unconstitutional. As such, it violates the civil liberties of the citizens of Maguindanao and sets the stage for more and graver human rights abuses by state security forces, already notorious internationally for their appalling track record of brutality.

Furthermore, by setting the bar for the declaration of martial law at an absurdly low level, the Arroyo regime is setting a dangerous precedent that could pose a threat to the May 2010 elections and the constitutionally-mandated transition to a new government. In the waning days of her presidential term, Mrs. Arroyo has amply demonstrated that she is desperate to stay in power, recently declaring her candidacy for a congressional seat in Pampanga with the avowed aim of pushing for charter change.

We call on Congress to immediately convene and revoke Proclamation 1959. We call on the public to mobilize and be vigilant as this regimes desperately maneuvers to maintain its hold on power beyond 2010. We reiterate our call for the ouster of Gloria Arroyo. #

           
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NEWS RELEASE
5 December 2009

Maguindanao ML, master stroke for whitewash – KMU

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today called on the Filipino workers and people to act immediately to oppose Mrs. Arroyo’s declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao, saying the move is “the master stroke for the grand whitewash” of the investigation into the recent massacre in the province.

Citing the alleged massing up of armed elements in various points of Maguindanao, which follows reports that weapons sufficient to arm more than 1,000 troops have been uncovered in the province, Mrs. Arroyo declared Martial Law in Maguindanao this morning. She cited provisions of the Constitution allowing the president to declare Martial Law to prevent “lawless violence.”

”This is the master stroke for the grand whitewash of the investigation into the massacre. With Martial Law in place, even for a few days, the situation in the province will be controlled, and evidence pointing to the Ampatuan political clan can now be covered up. This is the backhoe that will dig up the grave where the evidence will be dumped,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

”The Filipino workers and people believe Mrs. Arroyo is doing this to protect the Ampatuans, her precious political ally in the province and region. Mrs. Arroyo, through her spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo, has affirmed her loyalty to the clan as allies. She cannot, after all, drop the Ampatuans because they played a major role in the electoral fraud which she perpetrated in 2004,” added Labog.

The labor center likewise said that it is the workers and people of Maguindanao who will be the victims of the Martial Law, not the masterminds of the massacre.

”We fear for the workers and people of Maguindanao. The Arroyo regime has always been known for disrespecting and trampling on the political and civil liberties of workers and people. To show that it means business in preempting or quelling lawless violence in the province, it will cause deaths and damage there. It is the workers and people who will suffer, not the Ampatuans,” Labog said.

KMU also said that with the declaration of Martial Law in the province, Mrs. Arroyo is again using a national tragedy to advance her political interests.

”Mrs. Arroyo is doing this to advance her political interests. First, she wants to counter the national and international perception that she is going slow and soft on the Ampatuans. Second, she wants to thwart the publicizing of evidence – including election paraphernalia, which may have fueled the regime’s panic – being uncovered in the province, which continues to fuel the still-mounting outrage of the workers and people at the massacre and the regime,” said Labog.

”Third, she wants to test the waters for the nationwide declaration of Martial Law – which is still an unused weapon in her armory of tactics for avoiding prosecution and punishment for her grave crimes against the Filipino workers and people. This remains her overriding obsession at present,” Labog added.

”This is the reason why the Filipino workers and people should act immediately to oppose the Martial Law in Maguindanao. We must make it clear to the regime that we will not take another Martial Law sitting down, that we will resist it with all our might, and that the person who will declare it will end in the same way that former dictator Ferdinand Marcos did – in disgrace,” Labog concluded. #

Reference: Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

 

     
           
           

 

Proclamation 1959 a menacing cloud poised to unleash the worst of tragedies in Philippine democracy
Kabataan Partylist strongly rejects the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao.

Proclamation 1959 is a dangerous precedent to the impending 2010 elections. Unless it is immediately revoked, its implications to the national elections hover over the Filipino people like a menacing cloud poised to unleash the worst of tragedies in Philippine democracy.

The declaration of martial law in Maguindanao is a completely unnecessary move if the Arroyo administration genuinely intends to bring to justice the wrongdoers in the Maguindanao massacre. Its real motives, thus, are subject to suspicion.

Martial law in Mindanao is not an answer to police incompetence. The government is bound by law to resolve this matter via due process and to ensure that all constitutional processes prevail. That Malacanang now attests that Maguindanao is in a 'state of rebellion' after a handful of arrests and after appointing DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno as acting officer-in-charge in the province is proof that authorities have exercised ineffectiveness and lack of political will.

In declaring martial law in Maguindanao, the government is trying to deflect public outrage against its inability to bring meaningful resolution to the gruesome crime, and its culpability by tolerating the Ampatuans' warlordism and creation of private armies. It has failed miserably in exercising authority over a monster of its very own making or it is now attempting to distance itself from the same monster by now depicting the Amptuans as `outlaws and rebels out of their control.'

Furthermore, martial law in Maguindanao cannot hope to resolve rampant warlordism in the province. What the government is now tasked to do with haste is to thoroughly investigate all evidence - especially the unearthing of high-powered weapons and ammunition bearing the labels of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in the backyard of the Ampatuans. This, if anything, is glaring proof that the Ampatuans had at their disposal the services and arms of the local military and police.

We demand that the Arroyo administration restore all civilian government bodies in Maguindanao.

We, likewise, implore members of Congress to exercise their power to revoke Proclamation 1959. Any truly meaningful and sincere resolution to the murders should be done with constraint, sobriety and without political ties. Let us perform our legislative powers for the resolution of the Ampatuan massacre, and not to aggravate it by granting full military powers to elements perceived to have coddled, harbored and allowed violence to run rampant in Maguindanao in the first place.

Lastly, we call on all Filipino youth and the people to remain vigilant against any moves and measures that undermine and attempt to violate our civil liberties. History has taught us to unite against dictatorship, to resist tyranny at all costs.

This time, we will unite and we will most definitely resist. As we continue to demand justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and accountability for coddlers of warlords and political armies, we call on all Filipino youth to resound in the call, "Never again to martial law".

KABATAAN PARTYLIST

 

     
           
           

Miogrante International

5 December 2009
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

OFWs join calls for the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao
‘Arroyo and the military have no moral authority to rule’ –Migrante

Migrante International today called for the immediate lifting of martial law in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City, saying that the move betrays how President Arroyo is less concerned with the dispensation of justice for the Ampatuan massacre victims than with consolidating her power through military rule.

“We have received messages of concern from OFWs around the world, who think that Arroyo’s game plan is to use the situation in Maguindanao to spread martial law across the country. This is of course something that will be opposed by freedom-loving Filipinos all over the world,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

The group believes that the military and police forces do not have the moral authority to be accorded blanket authority over the said provinces, given that the investigation shows their culpability in the massacre. Recently, weapons owned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were dug up near the Ampatuan’s mansion. Several military and police auxiliary forces are under investigation.

“In the first place, the Ampatuan massacre happened precisely because the AFP and PNP allowed itself to be used by warlords in executing brutal crimes against the people. Meanwhile, Arroyo has given its political allies, the Ampatuans, free reign to terrorize the province for the longest time. How can we now believe her claim that martial law is being declared for the sake of law and order?

“This is the height of insensitivity to the victims of the massacre, and the height of Arroyo’s bloodthirsty quest for power,” said Martinez.

He added that, “The reason that ‘local judicial system and other government mechanisms in the province are not functioning,’ as stated in the martial law declaration, is because these are paralyzed by fear of the prevailing power of the gun. Martial law will only reinforce this power, and multiply the fear,” said Martinez.

Migrante International calls for the resumption of civilian authority in Maguindanao. The group also said that OFWs will remain vigilant against the tyranny and culture of impunity under the Arroyo government.###

 

           

 

Press Statement
05 December 2009

EMJP: No to Martial Law in Maguindanao! Never again to Martial Law!

The Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), a church-based human rights group adds its voice to the increasing condemnation against the GMA government’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao “for the purpose of arresting the Ampatuans”.

We can’t help but ask: why martial law in Maguindanao, and against the Ampatuans? Is it because Maguindanao and the Ampatuans means GMA’s presidency?

With “discovery” of arms and ammunition that bore the name of the Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP), GMA has found a convenient excuse, and declared martial law in Maguindanao, to dissociate herself and her government from the Ampatuan family, a known ally and supporter.

But there’s no escape. We reiterate the GMA regime’s responsibility for the carnage that has killed 57 people by arming and allowing this powerful clan lord over the province of Maguindanao. The victims of the massacre last November 23 may just be the tip of the iceberg. We do not even know how many others have been killed, maimed or victimized by this warlord family that is solidly backed by GMA herself.

As an organization established during the period of the Marcos dictatorship, we in EMJP are alarmed over this recent development and fear for the safety and lives of the people in Maguindanao. History has shown us that martial law only resulted to thousands of Filipinos killed; hundreds disappeared, tortured and detained – a record that the Arroyo regime is trying to duplicate with its own data of 1,1118 victims of extra-judicial killings and 204 victims of enforced disappearances.

The recent declaration may sow fear among the people in Maguindao and the rest of the Filipinos. But now is not the time to be afraid, now is the time to show dissent and opposition to the actions that this treacherous and murderous regime has committed against the Filipino people. We call for the withdrawal of this declaration. No to Martial law in Maguindanao! Never again to martial law!

Reference:
Girlie T. Padilla
(09088942837)
EMJP Secretary General

 

     
           

 

Martial Law is Not a Substitute for Competent Police Work:
Statement on the Reported Proclamation of Martial Law in Maguindanao

Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
Dean and Professor of Law
University of the Philippines

The heinous massacre of civilians in Ampatuan, Maguindanao deserves competence of the highest order in the gathering, preserving and evaluation of evidence as well as in the subsequent arrest and prosecution of its perpetrators. It should also be the platform for a sober approach that will comprehensively address the issue of private armies of misguided politicians. Any meaningful solution should be led by civilians preferably those who can remain independent of influence from national public officials who have openly declared partisan interests in the upcoming election.

The reported declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao should be assessed in this light as well as in terms of its compliance with the very stringent requirements contained in the 1987 Constitution.

The President should also observe an extraordinary level of transparency and accountability with this declaration. She must clearly demonstrate why martial law needs to be declared. The proclamation of Martial Law can be used as a means to gain unfair advantage in the upcoming elections or as an excuse to declare a failure of elections contrary to the people’s will. The need for transparency and accountability is even more urgent given the unnecessary proclamation from the spokespersons of the Office of the President that the incumbent has remained “friends” with those widely suspected of having committed the atrocities in Mindanao. The need for transparency and accountability is also necessary in the light of the role of the suspected perpetrators in the controversies surrounding the 2004 elections.

Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law can only be declared in cases of invasion or rebellion and only when public safety demands it. Rebellion requires that there is at least a taking up of arms publicly directed against an existing government. Martial law cannot be declared because the state has failed to prevent massive human rights violations by leaders that the national government itself has nurtured. Martial law cannot be proclaimed to cover up the lack of professional competence in the gathering, preservation, evaluation of evidence and in the arrest and detention of the perpetrators. Martial law is also not the proper legal response to the issuance of a writ of amparo in favor of the Ampatuan family.

A report on how the proclamation was executed must be made within 48 hours of its proclamation to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress must convene within 24 hours after it is proclaimed. Any proclamation of martial law by the President can only have a maximum effectivity of 60 days. This can be revoked (or extended) by Congress. Any revocation by Congress cannot be overturned by the President. In case martial law has been proclaimed, the electoral ambitions of all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate should be put aside so that they can observe their obligations required in the Constitution.

The proclamation of martial law does not supplant the civilian bureaucracy. It does not supplant the operation of the Constitution including its provisions for the protection of individual and collective rights. It does not supplant the operations of local government nor the fact that local governance is subject to existing law. Martial law does not automatically suspend the writ of habeas corpus or justify illegal arrests and detention. In other words, it is not authority for the Commander in Chief or the military to replace civilian government. Certainly, the public should be encouraged to engage the courts should there be any violation of any provision of law or the constitution.

Abuse of executive privilege will only tarnish the memories of those who have been martyred by the violent excesses of misguided public officials. I call for vigilance for competent, transparent, accountable government as well as for the protection of human rights of peoples in Mindanao.

Quezon City, December 5, 2009


Provisions in Article VII of the 1987 Constitution

“Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

“The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.

“The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

“A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or the legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

“The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion.

“During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.”

 

     
     
           

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

Martial law in Maguindanao: Another turn in Arroyo's power play--CPP
December 6, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines said today that "Arroyo's Proclamation 1959, which placed most of Maguindanao under martial law, is just another turn in Arroyo's continuing power play.

"Malacañang continues to plot and improvise more schemes to perpetuate itself in power in the face of the setbacks it has been encountering with its original plan," said the CPP. "Initially, Malacañang's knee-jerk response to the Ampatuan massacre was to protect and save an ally to which the Arroyo regime is greatly indebted for having played a major role in ensuring a lead of one million votes for Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections and delivering a 12-0 win for Malacañang's 'Team Unity' in the 2007 senatorial elections. The Ampatuan clan has also been fending off the Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces from their bailiwicks in Maguindanao. However, evidence has been building up undeniably pointing to the guilt of the Ampatuans. Numerous witnesses have given undeniable testimonies and too many guns and ammunition have been discovered in and near the Ampatuan mansions. Public denunciations nationwide and abroad against the massacre have grown too much to ignore or belittle, said the CPP.

"All this," the CPP added, "is further isolating the Arroyo regime and pulling down further the electoral chances of its Lakas-Kampi-CMD national slate. Malacañang's only choice now is to save its own skin and make the most out of the situation to plot more dirty, insidious and violent schemes to ensure the perpetuation of its hold on power."

 

"Arroyo justifies her martial law proclamation by positing a self-contradictory claim," said the CPP. She says that the presence of 'heavily armed groups in the province of Maguindanao that have established positions to resist government troops' constitutes rebellion. But she was referring to the areas controlled by traditional feudal warlord politicos, where rebellion is not at all present. On the other hand, she excluded the areas being held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, where the real rebellion is based, the CPP elaborated.

"Arroyo declared martial law in Maguindanao to make it easier for her regime to do what it can there without legal encumbrances, including the ease of ensuring at the very least that the province and region's total delivery of 'command' votes for Arroyo's candidates will continue," the CPP elaborated further.

"Worse, there are more sinister aftermaths to Arroyo's declaration of martial law in Maguidanao," warned the CPP. "It may serve as a trial balloon and precursor to the duplication or expansion of such a move in other places and at the national scale. More 'bombings' and other forms of justifications for a wider scope of martial law can take place in other areas, as have suddenly taken place in Jolo. The 'no election-and-transition rule' scenario is becoming more and more a reality," the CPP warned.

Reference:
Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09156596802 :: 09282242061
E-mail:cppmedia@gmail.com

           

 NOVEMBER 23 MOVEMENT
 

No to Martial Law

We absolutely oppose the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao and, prospectively, anywhere else in the country.

We believe that, with the severe restrictions on freedoms it imposes, on the one hand, and the wide latitude of police, military, and official powers it allows, on the other, martial law will only compound the troubles it has been precisely intended to deal with.

Indeed, we believe that normal powers exercised by a decisive, strong-willed, and well-intentioned leadership are enough to bring the perpetrators of the November 23 massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, to justice.

History offers clear, powerful, and painful enough lessons in the deceptive promises of martial law: It has been used for repression, instead of justice.

The November 23 Movement

The November 23 Movement is a coalition of media organizations and groups are calling for accountability and swift justice to the slain journalists and other victims of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Members:

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Business World
Center for Community Journalism and Development
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
College Editors Guild of the Philippines
Davao Today
Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project
Philippine Press Institute
Pinoy Weekly
Southeast Asia Press Alliance
VERA Files

***********************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES

www.nujp.wordpress.com

105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768
Email: nujphil@gmail.com

     
           
           

 

WHEN WE SAID NEVER AGAIN, WE MEANT IT
Theodore Te
 

Which part of "Never Again" did you fail to understand?

The decretal portion of Proc 1959, as read by the Executive Secretary:

THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, PRESIDENT OF RP, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 1 - THERE IS HEREBY DECLARED A STATE OF MARTIAL LAW IN THE PROVINCE OF MAGUINDANAO
EXCEPT FOR THE IDENTIFIED AREAS OF THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT AS REFERRED TO IN THE
IMPLEMENTING OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES OF THE GRP-MILF AGREEMENT ON THE GENERAL CESSATION OF HOSTLITIES.

SEC. 2 - THE PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS WILL LIKEWISE BE SUSPENDED IN THE SAID AREAS FOR THE DURATION OF THE STATE OF MARTIAL LAW.

DONE IN THE CITY OF MANILA, THIS 4TH DAY OF DECEMEBER, 2009. SIGNED, GLORIA M. ARROYO.

What is immediately apparent is that there is no period specified and none of the grounds in the Constitution would fit--unless these grounds are yet to happen according to good old military inteligence.

Meantime, it is left to both Houses of Congress--this time clearly voting jointly (ehem ehem ehem, can you say "cha cha" as well as "choo choo"?)--and the 93% Gloria-appointed Court to decide on this issue.

------------
The relevant portion of the 1987 Constitution (which, if you put side by side with the proclamation, will clearly show the infirmity of the declaration) --

"ART. VI, SECTION 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released."

 

     
     
           

 

Join Filipinos in the US, as we say NO to Martial Law in Maguindanao!
 

(scroll down to join in our December 10th, celebration of International Human Rights Day with art and performances. We will be staging a 5 minute die-in to represent the over 1,073 killed under the Arroyo administration.)
 

BAYAN USA Press Statement

December 5, 2009

The declaration of a state of Martial Law in Maguindanao sets a most dangerous precedent for the nation. Not since September 21, 1972 has there been any declaration of Martial Law, not even during the years of tumult under the Aquino, Estrada and, prior to this, the Arroyo regime. For the first time since 1972, the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended in an area in the Philippines.

We reiterate our call for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre but we cannot support measures that are both dangerous and questionable.
The alleged purpose of Proclamation 1959 is the arrest of the Ampatuan family members who are implicated in the November 23 Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre. The regime justifies the declaration in saying that civilian institutions, especially the courts, are no longer functioning and that the dispensation of justice would not be possible.

The Constitution says Martial Law can only be declared during an invasion or during a rebellion. The failure of civilian government institutions, as in the case of the local government offices and courts in Maguindanao, cannot be used as a pretext for declaring Martial Law. The difficulty of gathering evidence, securing warrants and enforcing arrests also cannot be used as a basis for the declaration.

 

 

We demand the lifting of Martial Law in Maguindanao and the restoration of the civilian government institutions. Martial Law cannot solve the problem of state-sponsored warlordism and violence in the province. Martial Law will always lead to abuses because those implementing it, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, have very poor human rights records.
The national government must endeavor to restore the civilian administrative and judicial institutions in the province.
 

If Mrs. Arroyo refuses to lift the declaration, we call on Congress to exercise its powers to revoke Martial Law. Mrs. Arroyo is required by the Constitution to report to Congress within 48 hours. It falls on Congress, though dominated by Arroyo loyalists, to revoke this dangerous declaration. We must not wait for the maximum 60-day period allowed by the Constitution for the enforcement of martial rule. The leaders of the Lower House and Senate must convene within 24 hours to address this issue.

That Martial Law has been declared in a province less than six months before the national elections raises fresh fears that similar scenarios can also follow, thus severely undermining the  conduct of the 2010 polls. We must not allow this scenario to be replicated in other regions for whatever pretexts.

The Arroyo regime and its police and military have to be made accountable for its role in arming the Ampatuan family. The recently discovered arms cache in the Ampatuan residence shows the complicity of the AFP, PNP and the regime in supplying weapons to the local warlords. With this kind of track record, how do you trust the AFP and PNP with the vast powers of Martial rule? This kind of corruption and complicity cannot be solved by the declaration of Martial rule.

We have learned the bitter lessons of Martial Law even as we are acutely aware of the propensity for abuse by the current regime. As we continue to demand justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, we call on the public to remain vigilant at this time against possible abuses on civilians that may stem from this declaration. ##

           

 

BRO . EDDIE SCORES GMA MARTIAL LAW MOVE

Bangon Pilipinas Party's Bro. Eddie Villanueva on Saturday scored Proclamation No. 1959 declaring Martial Law in Maguindanao, calling on Filipinos all over the world to be vigilant on Malacanang's next move and adding that it has a chilling effect not only on the country but on the whole world as well.

Under Proclamation No. 1959, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus has also been effectively suspended.

Villanueva averred that "all that the Arroyo administration has to do to ensure peace is to disarm and disband the political warlord elites of Maguindanao province, arrest all the suspected perpetrators of the masssacre and place all the Ampatuans in local government under preventive suspension to ensure a speedy, impartial investigation and prosecution of the accused."

"What is being sought by martial law that cannot be achieved by these routinely available measures in achieving the substantive ends of justice?" he asked.

Villanueva said the constitution only allowed two instances for the declaration of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas Corpus – when there is “rebellion or invasion.”

“Even in both instances (rebellion or invasion), martial law can only be declared when public safety demands. In this case, we believe the strict enforcement of the law is sufficient. Warrants have been served and armaments have been discovered and duly confiscated,” he pointed out.

"Besides there in no threat of anarchy, insurrection or rebellion or imminent danger that serves as objective basis for martial law. If the violence there is politically-based, what the government must do is to order the strict and swift enforcement of the law," Villanueva explained.

He said the declaration was uncalled for because there are no bombings or insurgents involved in the grisly incident and the people being tagged as suspects in the killings are known allies of the Arroyo administration.

“Since Proclamation 1959 is not necessary, are we seeing a shadow of things to come? Practice ba ito?” Villanueva asked.

He also said that if the president can proclaim martial rule in Maguindanao, she can also do it in other provinces using bases not allowed by the Constitution.

Further, Villanueva expressed doubts on why Arroyo has declared martial law in Maguindanao. "There is something insidious about GMA’s move in suspending the liberties of the people towards the end of her term -- when the election for her successor is drawing near."

Proclamation No. 1959 was announced by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita at 7 a.m. today, Saturday. It takes effect in Maguindanao except for certain areas identified as Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) bailiwicks. (30)

     
     

 

 NOVEMBER 23 MOVEMENT
 

No to Martial Law

We absolutely oppose the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao and, prospectively, anywhere else in the country.

We believe that, with the severe restrictions on freedoms it imposes, on the one hand, and the wide latitude of police, military, and official powers it allows, on the other, martial law will only compound the troubles it has been precisely intended to deal with.

Indeed, we believe that normal powers exercised by a decisive, strong-willed, and well-intentioned leadership are enough to bring the perpetrators of the November 23 massacre in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, to justice.

History offers clear, powerful, and painful enough lessons in the deceptive promises of martial law: It has been used for repression, instead of justice.

 

The November 23 Movement

The November 23 Movement is a coalition of media organizations and groups are calling for accountability and swift justice to the slain journalists and other victims of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Members:

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Business World
Center for Community Journalism and Development
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
College Editors Guild of the Philippines
Davao Today
Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project
Philippine Press Institute
Pinoy Weekly
Southeast Asia Press Alliance
VERA Files

***********************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
www.nujp.wordpress.com
105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768
Email: nujphil@gmail.com

     
     
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