No reason for nationwide ML â Leni

Vice President Leni Robredo and other groups yesterday joined calls for President Rodrigo Duterte not to consider declaring martial law in the whole country, saying  as there is no reason to do so. OVP

No reason for nationwide ML — Leni

Helen Flores and Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Leni Robredo and other groups yesterday joined calls for President Duterte not to consider declaring martial law in the whole country, saying  as there is no reason to do so.

And while Robredo did not oppose the martial law declaration in Mindanao, she called on the public to be vigilant. She also reminded the military to ensure that there will be no abuses of human rights under martial law.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also issued the same reminder to the military and the police as it urged the public to report any instance of abuse of power to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“We will not allow this to be an instrument of violence. We will not allow this to pave the way for another dictatorship which we have fought before,” Robredo said.

Human Rights Watch said placing Mindanao under martial law threatens to widen the scope of abuses under the Duterte administration, while militant groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Duterte was terribly mistaken and must lift his proclamation immediately.

“We want to express our support to the President and to the armed forces. We all need to unite,” the Vice President said in an interview in Camarines Sur where she inaugurated new school buildings.

She backed the efforts of the administration to neutralize the Maute terror group.

But she noted “there’s no reason to extend the implementation (of martial law) to the Visayas and Luzon.”

Several senators from the Liberal Party that Robredo heads, along with other groups, also said earlier they do not see any basis to expand the coverage of martial law.

Under the Constitution, the President may only declare martial law in case of invasion or rebellion when public safety requires it. The effectivity of the declaration can only last for 60 days. It is also subject to review by Congress and the Supreme Court.

The Vice President asked members of Congress to perform their constitutional duty in reviewing and deciding on the validity of the martial law declaration in Mindanao.

“We must all unite against terrorism and we must cooperate with our security forces to find the best ways and means within the framework of our Constitution and laws to neutralize these local terrorist groups at the soonest possible time,” she said.  

Robredo also raised questions apparently after having read the President’s report.

“The report submitted to Congress states that martial law shall be in effect ‘until such time that the rebellion is completely quelled.’ How does the administration define ‘completely quelled?’” Robredo asked.

“What does the administration like to see to happen before withdrawing the imposition of martial law as well as re-establishing the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus?” she said.

Robredo’s office is focused on providing relief operations for people displaced by the ongoing firefight between government troops and Maute militants to support other agencies.

She said the Office of the Vice President, in partnership with the private sector, has also set up a command center at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. – With Ghio Ong, Janvic Mateo

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