Official Week in Review: December 23 – December 25, 1980

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December 23—

PRESIDENT MARCOS listed some of the implications of the lifting of martial law, especially as it affects individual rights. He discussed them in his speech at the AFP Day celebration at Camp Aguinaldo.

They are:

1. The President will stop making laws, a function reserved for the Batasang Pambansa.

2. The President will stop issuing arrest, search and seizure orders (ASSOs).

3. Curfew will not be imposed, except in the few critical places where martial law may be retained.

4. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will be restored, except in cases involving public order or security.

5. Movements of individuals will not be curtailed.

6. The press will have greater freedom and access to information, but the media councils and censors board will stay.

7. The freedom of peaceful assembly will be enhanced, except when used to torment disorder, sedition and rebellion.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS ordered the dismantling of military tribunals and detention centers to help complete “the process of bringing martial law to a close.”

The President issued the orders during his speech at the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the armed forces at Camp Aguinaldo.

With the dismantling of military tribunals, which were set up more than eight years ago with the proclamation of martial law, all cases before the tribunals, except those cases already submitted for decision, will be transferred to the civil courts.

There are 11 military commission and provost courts, 32 of which were set up last August, and 14 detention centers, including two in Metro Manila.

December 24—

THE FIRST LADY, Imelda R. Marcos, came home laden with gifts for the Filipino people—oil from Saudi Aarabia and strengthening of relationship with the incoming administration of US President-elect Ronald Reagan.

After a 20-day trip that took her to two thirds of the world from Hawaii to North Africa on official missions for President Marcos, the First Lady reported that her talks with the incoming Reagan administration was undertaken at the “highest level and with only positive results.”

On negotiations for oil, the First Lady said she:

—Succeeded, with the help of Prince Fadh, Prince Saud, and Ambassador Shoboksi, Saudi Arabia ambassador to the Philippines, in asking King Khalid of Saudi Arabia to restore the supply of oil to the Philippines. The country gets 50 percent of its oil needs from Saudi Arabia.

—Negotiated with Middle East suppliers of crude oil in the United States for a steady supply of crude oil for the country.

—Sought the cooperation of the American Petroleum Institute for the acceleration of the drilling program in the Philippines.

—Obtained the assistance of scientists of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States for the broadening of applicable techno logy in the development of local energy resources.

* * *

SAUDI ARABIAN OIL Minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani said he hopes that the friendly relations between the Philippines and his country will grow stronger and deeper.

Yamani expressed this hope after the conferment on him by President Marcos of the ancient Order of Sikatuna, rank of datu, in recognition of his invaluable services as one of the world’s most distinguished statesmen.

In accepting the “great honor,” Yamani said he would “try (his) best to translate (his) feelings into action rather than words, and will go home with best memories of my visit to this great country and the over whelming hospitality extended to me and my wife.”

December 25—

PRESIDENT MARCOS has ordered the release of two American pilots who landed Nov. 12 at the Manila international airport with an unauthorized load of Claymore mines and other explosive devices.

In a directive issued on Christmas Day, the President set the two Americans—Duane Heist, 33 and Robert Rummel, 30—free under the principle of “nolle prosequi,” which meant that they were forgiven for whatever violations of Philippine laws they have committed.

The two pilots were held by the authorities after they landed at the Manila international airport on a twin-engine Aero Commander with the mines and other explosive devices.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS has appointed Assistant Minister Vicente Leogardo Jr. and Labor Relations Director Carmeio C. Noriel as deputy ministers of the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

Labor Minister Blas F. Ople recommended the appointment of the two to fill up two slots for deputy ministers, including the one vacated by resigned Deputy Minister Amado G. Inciong.

Until his appointment to his new post as deputy minister, Leogardo was officer-in-charge of the office of Deputy Minister Inciong.

METRO Manila Gov. Imelda R. Marcos has earmarked some P1 million for the squatters who may wish to return to their hometowns.

Vice Gov. Ismael Mathay Jr. made the announcement as he ordered a stepping up of the “Balik-probinsiya” program.

Mathay said the First Lady has assured the squatter families of the government’s assistance under the dispersal program launched two years ago.

An average of 150,000 migrants strem motropolis every year and the population may reach 18 million by the year 2000 if nothing is done to contain them Mathay said.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS appointed two deputy labor ministers and shuffled two ambassadors.

Named were Vicente Leogardo Jr. and Carmelo Noriel two veteran officials in the labor ministry. Reassigned were Ambassador Rafael Ileto and Manuel Yan.

Ileto was transferred from Iran to Thailand while Yan was sent to Indonesia.

The new deputy labor ministers were recommended by Minister Blas F. Ople who cited the youth, integrity and competence of the appointees.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS said the strike ban in vital industries will remain even after martial law is lifted to prevent sudden dislocation in the economy.

There has been some apprehensions in the business community that with the lifting of martial law next month eight years of industrial peace will be threatened.

While stressing that he will not agree to any sudden dislocation of the economy, the President said that he will consult with both labor and management leaders to work out a plan to gradually phase out the strike ban in vital industries.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS was informed by the United States embassy that the two American pilots ordered by the President released from Philippine custody last Christmas Day and their employer have waived all claims to the explosives and related devices confiscated from them by the Philippine government.

* * *

PRESIDENT MARCOS declared that even with the lifting of martial law next January the policy that there should be no strikes in essential industries would stand.

This policy would stand, he told Malacañang reporters in an interview, “until we can get everybody settled down.”

He allayed fears of business sectors that the lifting of martial law next month would bring on a spate of strikes, adding that industrialists need not fear “that there will be sudden dislocations, sudden changes.”

The President said that the no-strike policy is a part of the Labor Code, General Order No. 5, and other special laws.

* * *

THE BATASANG Pambansa, sitting as a constituent assembly, decided to conduct more public hearings on five major political issues to enable it to finalize proposed amendments to the Constitution and submit them to the people for approval in a plebiscite.

Speaker Querube C. Makalintal urged citizens in the Bicol region and Western Visavas to participate by sending representatives to the hearings scheduled for Jan. 8-10 in lloilo City, Legaspi City, and Naga City on the following issues:

1. A constitutional provision which would guarantee that in a regional election for members of the regular National Assembly each province will have at least one seat.

2. Accreditation of political .parties and their representation in all election boards.

3. Succession to the presidency during the period of transition.

4. Prohibiting elective officials to occupy other government positions during their tenure.

5. Immunity of the President and Prime Minister from suit for official acts during their tenure.

Source: National Library of the Philippines

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1980). Official Week in Review. Official  Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 76(52), civ-clvii.