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September 21, 1944, President Laurel Declared Martial Law throughout the Entire Country

On September 21, 1944, President Laurel proclaimed martial law in the Philippines (it came into effect on September 22). On September 23, 1944, Laurel proclaimed that the Philippines was “in a state of war” with the Allied Powers—but this was never ratified by the National Assembly. In large part, Japanese disapointment with Laurel led to the Republic under Laurel being superseded by the Makapili, organized in December, 1944 to more militantly oppose the returning American forces and Filipino guerrillas. The Japanese brought the Laurel government to Baguio in December, 1944, and a small remnant of that government was taken to Tokyo in March, 1945. Laurel formally dissolved the Second Republic on August 17, 1945, two days after Japan surrendered to the Allies.

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Below is a copy of Proclamation No. 29, Proclaiming Martial Law Throughout the Philippines:

Republic of the Philippines



By The President of the Republic of the Philippines



The danger of invasion being imminent and the public safety so requiring, I, JOSE P. LAUREL, President of the Republic of the Philippines, pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by section 9, article II, of the Constitution, do hereby place the Philippines and all parts thereof under martial law and suspend the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus therein.

For the purpose of carrying this Proclamation into effect, the President of the Republic of the Philippines hereby assumes all powers of government essential to or incident in the establishments and maintenance of martial law all over the Philippines, and to that extent, will exercise such powers and functions personally or by delegation by him to the presently organized and existing civil authorities, or to such new agencies or instrumentalities as he may, from time to time, create, in accordance with the exigencies of the situation.

It is further declared that:

1. The respective Ministers of State shall, subject to the authority of the President, exercise direct supervision and control over all district, provincial, and other local governmental agencies in the Philippines when performing functions or discharging duties affecting matters within the jurisdiction of his Ministry and may, subject to revocation by the President, issue such orders as may be necessary therefor.

2. The Philippines shall be divided into nine Military Districts, seven to correspond to the seven Administrative Districts created under Ordinance No. 31, dated August 26, 1944; the eight, to compromise the City of Manila; and the ninth, the City of Cavite and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Palawan.

3. The Commissioners for each of said Administrative Districts shall have command, respectively, of the first seven military districts herein created, and shall bear the title of Military Governor; and the Mayors and Provincial Governors of the cities and provinces compromised therein shall be their principal deputies, with the title of deputy city or provincial military governor, as the case may be. The Mayor of the City of Manila shall be Military Governor for the eight Military District; and the Vice-Minister of Home Affairs, in addition to his other duties, shall be the Military Governor for the ninth Military District.

4. All existing laws shall continue in force and effect until amended or repealed by the president, and all the existing civil agencies of an executive character shall continue exercising their agencies of an executive character shall continue exercising their powers and performing their functions and duties, unless they are inconsistent with the terms of this Proclamation or incompatible with the expeditions and effective enforcement of the martial law herein declared.

5. It shall be the duty of the Military Governors to suppress treason, sedition, disorder and violence; and to cause to be punished all disturbances of public peace and all offenders against the criminal laws; and also to protect persons in their legitimate rights. To this end and until otherwise decreed, the existing courts of justice shall assume jurisdiction and try offenders without unnecessary delay and in a summary manner, in accordance with such procedural rules as may be prescribed by the Minister of Justice. The decisions of courts of justice of the different categories in criminal cases within their original jurisdiction shall be final and unappealable: Provided, however, That no sentence of death shall be carried into effect without the approval of the President.

6. The existing courts of justice shall continue to be invested with, and shall exercise, the same jurisdiction in civil actions and special proceedings as are now provided in existing laws, unless otherwise directed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

7. The several agencies of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines are hereby authorized to call upon the armed forces of the Republic to give such aid, protection, and assistance as may be necessary to enable them safely and efficiently to exercise their powers and discharge their duties; and all such forces of the Republic are required promptly to obey such call.

8. The proclamation of martial law being an emergency measure demanded by imperative necessity, it shall continue as long as the need for it exists and shall terminate upon proclamation of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

9. This proclamation shall take effect on September 22, 1944, at 9 o’clock in the morning.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 21st day of September, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and forty-four, and of the Republic of the Philippines, the first.


President of the Philippine of the Philippines

By the President:


Executive Secretary


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