It has been said that in Hell, there will be nothing but law. Martial Law was characterized by curfews, the dispensation of military tribunal rulings on civilians, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
The writ of habeas corpus, which in Latin refers to “having the body”, is a citizen’s protection against unlawful imprisonment. This was suspended under Marcos’ dictatorship.
In the wrong hands, the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus open up the real possibility of the abuse of civil rights. Rights group Amnesty International (AI) documented extensive human rights violations which clearly showed a pattern of widespread arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, killings and torture of people that were critical of the government or perceived as political opponents.
AI estimates some 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured from 1972 to 1981.
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