Lawless elements have taken up arms:’ Arroyo report to Congress on martial law declaration in Maguindanao

Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that “within 48 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.”

On Sunday night, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives her report justifying why she placed Maguindanao under martial rule effective 9 p.m. Friday.

Mrs. Arroyo said these lawless elements wanted to deprive “the Chief Executive of her powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety, to the great damage, prejudice and detriment of the people in Maguindanao and the nation as a whole.”

The report recounted the sequence of events of the infamous November 23 massacre, which she said was widely blamed on Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

However, Andal Ampatuan Jr.’s “capture” did not result in the expeditious prosecution of those who took part in the massacre, according to Mrs. Arroyo.

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