According to the United Nations, The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of holding periodic and legitimate elections by universal suffrage are vital elements of democracy. In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. These standards are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies. The relation between democracy and human rights is captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
With this notion, Martial Law in the Philippines only proves that during that time, Human Rights and Democracy is not totally practiced in the whole nation. The circumstances of arrests, detentions and searches made without court orders are common practice during the martial rule. The fundamental principles of legality and due process have been neglected, with security forces having unprecedented powers given by the head of state under this martial law. Election frauds were also perceived. Justice among those involve were deserted and abandoned and Justice for the country’s democracy were put in to trash. Martial rule and suspension of writ of habeas corpus, which allows warrantless arrests, detention and conduct of searches, have been a convenient solution for the police force’s incompetence in enforcing their rudimentary duties. The soldiers have cemented their de facto superiority over the police in conflict areas.
But thirty one year had already passed, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have repeatedly been accused of involvement if not actively engaging in the killing of defenceless political activists. The AFP restates that they never will have a rule of intentionally targeting civilians as well as those who may have a different political orientation from our government for as long as they detain their resist within legal and legislative means. The AFP remains committed in their duty to help ensure that the Philippines progresses as a democratic society free by armed threats. Their answer is explicit in the AFP’s code of ethics in support for peace initiatives.
Furthermore, the AFP will persist to fully assist with fact-finding bodies formed by proper authorities. But investigation should be based on valid pieces of evidence as determined by courts and not simply on given away allegations. With proper procedure the AFP makes it a point that Justice is served to each and every Filipinos. Their faults in the past should not be carried today, for the scenario and period is different. Changes in the agency only attest that they are coping with it in order to have Justice in every aspect of their post.
* United Nation. 2012. Democracy and Human Rights.[Online] accessed from http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/democracy/human_rights.shtml on December 09, 2012 * Asian Human Rights Commission. 2009. Philippines: Martial Law Dilutes Human Rights [Online] Retrieved from http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0912/S00305.htm on December 09, 2012 * General Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. 2007. The AFP in a democracy:protecting human rights [online] ebook downloaded last December 09, 2012