Today in Philippine history, December 4, 2009, Maguindanao province was placed under Martial Law

Monday January 23, 2017 ()
Maguindanao massacre

On December 4, 2009, in the wake of the Maguindanao massacre, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed Maguindanao province under a state of martial law, through Proclamation No. 1959. The declaration also suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the province.

The announcement was made days after hundreds of government troops were sent to the province, which would later raid armories of the powerful Ampatuan clan. The Ampatuan family was implicated in the massacre, which saw the murder of 58 persons, including women members of the rival Mangudadatu clan, human rights lawyers, and 31 media workers. This was considered the worst incident of political violence in the nation's history. It has also been condemned worldwide as the worst loss of life of media professionals in one day in the history of journalism.

The Maguindanao massacre occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao. Some of the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, were kidnapped and killed. Mangudadatu was challenging the mayor of Datu Unsay town, Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr.

Macapagal-Arroyo lifted the state of martial law in Maguindanao on December 12 of the same year.

PROCLAMATION NO. 1959, s. 2009


WHEREAS, Proclamation No. 1946 was issued on 24 November 2009 declaring a state of emergency in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and the City of Cotabato for the purpose of preventing and suppressing lawless violence in the aforesaid areas;

WHEREAS, Section 18, Art. VII of the Constitution provides that "x x x In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, (the President) 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. x x x"

WHEREAS, R.A. No. 6986 provides that the crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of x x x depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives".

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;

WHEREAS, the condition of peace and order in the province of Maguindanao has deteriorated to the extent that the local judicial system and other government mechanisms in the province are not functioning, thus endangering public safety;

WHEREAS, the Implementing Operational Guidelines of the GRP-MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities dated 14 November 1997 provides that the following is considered a prohibited hostile act: "x x x establishment of checkpoints except those necessary for the GRP’s enforcement and maintenance of peace and order; and, for the defense and security of the MILF in their identified areas, as jointly determined by the GRP and MILF. x x x"

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and by law, do hereby proclaim, as follows:

SECTION 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 Hostilities.

SECTION 2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall likewise be suspended in the aforesaid area for the duration of the state of martial law.

DONE in the City of Manila, this 4th day of December in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Nine.


By the President:
Executive Secretary


  1. Martial Law in the Philippines, Project Gutenberg Self Publishing Press by World Heritage Encyclopedia
  2. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines


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