Police question a two-vehicle convoy of humanitarian volunteers in Marawi City on May 29. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

Duterte: Nationwide martial law not needed 'at this time'
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - June 21, 2017 - 9:58am
MANILA, Philippines — Imposing military rule in the entire Philippines is not called for right now, President Rofrigo Duterte said, following concerns over his remark that if he declares martial law again, it could be a “copycat of Marcos.”
 
Duterte had expressed a willingness to withdraw military forces in Marawi City if the Supreme Court rules against his May 23 proclamation placing the entire island of Mindanao under martial law.
 
He had warned, though that if Mindanao is beset anew by violence that would require him to impose martial law for the second time, he would no longer consult anyone.
 
According to him, his second martial law could be a “copycat” of that of ousted President Ferdinand Marcos, who placed the Philippines under military rule in 1972 and whose presidency was marked by human rights abuses and the silencing of dissent.  
 
The Philippine leader declared martial law in Mindanao after Islamic State-aligned terrorists from the Maute group raided Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city in Lanao del Sur province.
 
Duterte allayed fears that he is planning to do a Marcos by expanding the martial law in Mindanao to include the rest of the country.
 
“Martial law is here. Whether or not I expand it to cover the entire the Philippines is something else. And at this time, it is not called for,” the president said in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro last Tuesday.
 
Duterte said he and Marcos have their own reasons for declaring martial law, a power that he described as “inherent in the Office of the President.”  

Depth and breadth, not abuse

Officials have said that Duterte was just referring to the depth and breadth of martial law and not to abuses when he made the “Marcos copycat” remark.
 
They could not say when the president would lift military rule in Mindanao, saying it would depend on the assessment of military ground commanders.
 
While Duterte has no immediate plans to place the Philippines under military rule, he dangled anew the possibility of suspending the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas. He noted that suspending the privilege would allow authorities to arrest terrorists immediately.
 
“The mechanism of the habeas corpus is to prevent the terrorists to gain a foothold in the Visayas. Kasi mas doble na ang sakit (Because the impact could be worse),” the President said.
 
“If some of the terrorists are there, I need to pick them up immediately and then find out if they are really a threat. If not, then we will release them immediately. But if they are confirmed terrorists, I do not have the time to apply for a judicial warrant or a warrant of arrest, just because we cannot agree with each other,” he added.
 
The writ of habeas corpus requires arresting officers to present the body of a detained person before a court to prevent unlawful arrest or illegal detention.
 
Under the 1987 Constitution, the president may suspend the writ "for not more than 60 days in case of an invasion, rebellion" or "when the public safety requires it."
 
Last November, Duterte said he would consider suspending the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness spreads in Mindanao. He made the same remarks in May, saying he might suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas if fighting spills over from Mindanao.
 
He also said he would declare martial law across the country if Islamic State-inspired militants gain a foothold in Luzon.  

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