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We would like to critique and make an analysis of the situation

presented by asking the very essential and basic question of Is there

a prima facie obligation to obey the law?. Philosophers such as John
Finnis and M.B.E. Smith had discussed moral obligation or prima facie
obligation in depth. We think that this legal philosophy dilemma is
most appropriate to our discussion because of the fact that such legal
philosophers took into consideration the benefit and the role of the
government in a social institution. Laws are not merely made in order
to be acted upon, but rather laws are created in order to create a
seamless organization that would enable human beings to live
together in perfect balance. M.B.E Smith provides that laws per se is
not the mandatory or prohibitory notion that people are bound by.
Authorities or the government is the backbone of the law. The law per
se is not backed up by any formal authority that may enable us to
appreciate the authoritative value of the law. Thus, the obligation to
obey the law may be the essential question to answering the
philosophical and legal dilemmas posed upon us with the situation of
the SAF 44.

Upon creating the standards and parameters of this paper, we

believe that the following questions and issues may be answered and
be enlightened by the topics and arguments presented by the legal

1. Are both parties justified in the acts that they made?

2. Whether or not the delicate situation or the ceasefire
agreement may be a justifiable reason to kill 44 members of
the Special Action Force.
3. Whether or not executing the warrant of arrest against
Marwan is a valid cause of entering into the territory of the
MILF and BIFF knowing that the territory is hostile.
4. Lastly, are we bound by the laws that are made by the
government or are we bound by the historical and extrajuridical agreements which we entered into?

>>>LAGAY MO SI 8=========D Dito<<<<<<<<<<

In his 1972 paper, M.B.E Smith asked the question of whether or

not there is a necessity to obey the law. In his paper, Smith clarified
several intuitions and notions about this specific topic. The essential
question that M.B.E Smith posted was Is there a prima facie obligation
to obey the law?. However, he firstly provided points of clarification
which may also be applicable and is highly relevant with our
discussion. First point of clarification was the clarification regarding the
different kinds of prima facie obligation. He distinguishes two specific
points which are: 1. Specific Prima Facie Obligation and 2. Generic
Prima Facie Obligation. He gave the proper definition to each:

Specific Prima Facie Obligation

Asserts that some particular person has a prima facie

obligation to perform a particular act

Generic Prima Facie Obligation

Asserts that a person who qualifies a certain description

has a prima facie obligation to perform a certain kind of act
whenever he has an opportunity to do so.

In such case, the distinction of the two may have an impact to

understanding the very case of the Mamasapano incident. In a specific
prima facie obligation, an example that is quite similar is a valid and
existing contract. Contracts are generally perfect by meeting of the
minds. Thus, we may consider the contract between the parties (The
Government and the Bangsamoro People) to be binding between them.
Contract herein would pertain to the agreement of ceasefire between
them. Having a contract perfected, that means such contract is binding
between the parties and any breach whereof is tantamount to the
prima facie obligation to obey and the party who was liable for breach
would be regarded as the one in bad faith or at fault. If the
Bangsamoro people would have this mindset as a defense, it may be a
valid defense since the entry of lawful forces may be a breach to the
pre-existing armistice that is present.

On the other hand, the mindset of a prima facie obligation would

in return be a valid defense of the government of the Philippines. It
may be a valid defense because if a person respects the authority of
the national government, any act of the government may be

considered as binding and all of the people or subjects are bound by

the decision of the government. As provided by the definition, it is
obedience to the law at its face. Moreover, it is a standard or expected
conduct wherein parties are obliged to obey the law for the benefit of
the general public. With that being said, there is no other reason for
the Bangsamoro people to refute the stand of the government because
regardless of the fact that there was breach of the chain of command,
the decisions and actions of the national government may delimit the
pre-existing boundaries set up by law. Later on, the benefits of which
will be discussed in order to balance the arguments that may be
derived with the discussion of M.B.E. Smith.

The second point of clarification made by M.B.E. Smith was the

interpretation of the question Is there a prima facie obligation to obey
the law. In his essay, Smith points out that it is neither any of these

Does the fact that some act is against the law

provide us with reason to believe that is wrong?

Is the fact that some action is illegal an overriding

reason not to perform it?

Do we ever have a particular obligation to obey

particular laws on particular occasion?

In his defense, Smith pointed out that the real question at hand

Is the moral relation of any government to its citizens

such that they have a prima facie obligation to do certain
things merely because they are legally required to do

This is the perfect question to ask in order for us to derive the

correct answer for the abovementioned questions. Generally, the
question asks us the question of whether or not there is an obligation
to obey the law merely because of the presence of a law. This is the
same question or dilemma posted by Joseph Raz with his arguments
against John Finnis. In application to the dilemma at hand, we would
like to say that the answer to such question is on the positive. Any
person shall have the obligation to obey the law. Respect to obey the
law is mutually compensated if all who are bound by it are in
compliance of it. Thus, it is obvious that both parties are bound by the
set of law and rules that are promulgated between them. Therefore,
in order to balance out the interests of the parties, both the specific

and generic prima facie obligations should be complied with.

Specifically, in a utopia where shared interests and mutual benefits
are the only interests that are played, parties must both understand
the agreement and the law that is binding them. We would suggest
that given the perfect situation, the government should have
informed the Bangsamoro people to the whereabouts of the criminal
and may subject themselves to the proper remedy that the
Bangsamoro people may provide to them. However, such utopian
idea cannot be considered in this time and date inasmuch as the
theories that are presented to us by the different legal philosophers.

In his essay, M.B.E. Smith provided 3 main points of argument in

order to refute the argument of the presence of having a prima facie
obligation. In our case, such discussion points will be used in order to
justify and rectify the decisions made by the parties. The topics that
are discussed by Smith are as follows:

1. Benefits Received
a. Gratitude Argument
b. Fair play
2. Implied Consent
3. Utilitarian Arguments





(Gratitude Argument and Fair play)



Smith provides that the benefits received arguments is generally

a reason to obey the law because the government gives us great
benefits. This is an excerpt from his essay:

We are obligated to obey the law because were

obligated to be grateful to the government because of the
good things it does for us, and obeying the law is the best way
of showing our gratitude.

However, such argument does not satisfy M.B.E. Smith and he

uses such argument as a pivot point for his discussion. He further
discusses that there is no prima facie obligation to obey the law
because generally obedience to law is entirely subjective and relative
to a man. Man is no way obligated to obey the law because of the
benefits he has received. Smith says that such benefit may only have a
persuasive effect as to the obedience to law. There is no coercive force
in order to control and force such person to obey and comply with the
law. In my opinion, laws are generally followed because of the onerous
effects of non-compliance from it. For example, laws follow city
ordinances and rules merely because of the fact that the penalty
imposed is generally onerous for them. Such as fines and other sorts of

In his defense, Smith presupposes these ideas:

We dont owe gratitude for goods we never asked

These goods were not given to us out of concern for
our well being.
Even if we give the government gratitude, that does
not mean that we are obligated to do whatever it
tells us to do.

An example that was given by M.B.E Smith is his western

understanding of parental care and the obligation to take care of ones
parents. Smith provides that generally, we are benefited by the acts of
our parents to us. We are somehow morally obligated to protect and
take care of them later on in their life. However, there is no obligatory
notion to take care of them.

Another Argument that was prescribed by Smith was the

argument made Rawls:

In its very essence the argument follows this line of thought:

Rawls says that when a person receives a benefit from a

justly organized cooperative enterprise whose success
depends on near universal obedience to rules,

The obedience would entail sacrifice but would give


So if one person would not have a prima facie obligation,

he acts unfairly to his fellow citizens

Smith gives us an example to this situation wherein for example.

Person A follows the rules and regulations imposed by the state.
Obedience to such rules and regulation may entail sacrifices on the
part of the obeying person. Given as such, if B receives the same
benefits from the state, it would be unfair on the part of A because he
already sacrificed and invested effort in order to be fairly benefited by
the law.

The argument of gratitude and fair is essentially a defense of the

Philippine Government against the Bangsamoro People. Obviously,
since Mindanao is within the national territory of the Philippines, all of
the constituents of the Philippine are subjected to the police power of
the state. A particular demographic or a class of people cannot claim
the defense of having an intrinsic situation in order to justify their noncompliance.









specifically by the national government. However, the national

government extends its arms via the local governments that
recognizes the superiority of the national government. With that said, it
is generally unfair for the persons from a specific demographic group
to disregard the law because of their extemporaneous circumstance.
The fair play argument of Rawls would generally provide that the
sacrifices of other people may differ but the general benefit received
from the state is general and nationwide.

On the other hand, the defenses presented by M.B.E. Smith may

be a valid defense for the Bangsamoro people. Their stand may state
that there is no obligation per se because compliance is entirely
subjective and relative to persons who are bound by it. Gratitude per
se is not a valid precondition for obedience by the Bangsamoro people.
Merely enough gratitude is not practiced by the people of the
Bangsamoro area. If they are contented and are in gratitude of the
state, they should not be asking for more specific laws and other
methods of making them an independent state. In as much as they
wanted to be separate from the national government, it is just a
manifestation that the national government is not doing good enough
to get their gratitude and participation to obey and take cognizance of
the authority of the law.

Implied Consent (Plamenatz and Gewirth)

The second argument presented by M.B.E Smith is the argument

of implied consent. Implied consent simply means that there are acts
or subsequent acts which would impliedly say that there is a prima
facie obligation to obey the law. An example which was provided by
Plamenatz and Gewirth is when person exercises his right to suffrage.
Generally, there is implied consent when someone is voting because:

Even if you dislike the system and wish to change it, you
put yourself by your vote under a obligation to obey whatever
the government comes legally to power For the purpose of
an election is to give authority to the people who win it and if
you vote knowing what you re doing and without being
compelled to do it, you voluntarily take part in a process which
gives authority to these people.

This simply means that regardless of your vote whomever the

power is bestowed in, the person subjects himself to the rules and
regulations that may be provided by the legitimate authority. In his
insights, Smith refutes this argument by stating:

Most citizens simply dont consent or promise, even

implicitly, to obey the law. They dont intent their speech
or behavior to communicate a promise to obey.

Simply said, promise and consent you should be tacitly or

expressly conveyed.

Also, if voting and abstaining may constitutes as express

or consent, how would a person withhold his consent?

In application to the situation that is being discussed, the

Bangsamoro people may pose as a defense stating that their implied
consent cannot be considered as a prima facie obligation to obey the
law. Generally, given that the circumstances that are present in the
case of the Bangsamoro people, their demands may be the express or










spontaneous demands of the people and may be manifest and actual

representation of the non-existence of the implied consent on their