Opposition senators insist thereâs no basis for martial law extension in Mindanao
Members of Lumad communities, peasants and human rights advocates from across Mindanao troop at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, to oppose the plan to extend the implementation of martial law in southern Philippines.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Opposition senators insist there’s no basis for martial law extension in Mindanao

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - December 4, 2018 - 4:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday stressed that the plan to extend the implementation of martial is unconstitutional, citing there is no ground that necessitates such move.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said the military will recommend another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao, citing continuing threats of terrorism in the area.

Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the police force is joining the AFP in seeking an extension as it would ensure peace and order in the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the midterm elections next year.

But Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said the extension of military rule in the southern Philippines continues to be in violation of the 1987 Constitution.

“The Constitution is clear that martial law may be declared only in cases of actual rebellion when public safety requires it. I may sound like a broken record but for the nth time, I would repeat: there is no actual rebellion. Rebellion no longer persists in Mindanao,” Drilon said.

Galvez’s statement that continuing threat is “lurking” in Mindanao shows that there is no actual rebellion happening, the opposition senator noted.

“There may be threats of rebellion but what the Constitution clearly requires as a ground for declaring and extending martial law is the presence of actual rebellion,” Drilon said.

He added: “Let us not normalize martial law. Instead, let us help bring back normalcy in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao.”

Pangilinan: Extension shows martial law’s failure

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, urged the security forces to match their request for martial law extension “with hard and justifiable facts.”

“For instance, [they] should answer the question: How big and wide is the threat in the region that necessitates it to be placed under such declaration?” Pangilinan said.

He also said that the extension of military rule in the entire island shows the failure of the declaration in Mindanao.

“This is so because the military might never solve the people’s woes deeply rooted in poverty, lack of jobs and absence of basic services,” Pangilinan said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said that President Rodrigo Duterte might be persuaded to approve the extension of martial law due to the support given by different sectors. Support or clamor from various sectors, however, is not a ground for martial or its extension as mandated by the Constitution.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following the breakout of Marawi siege in May 2017. The Congress then approved the chief executive’s request to extend martial law in the region under the end of 2018.

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) on Tuesday vowed that he will challenge any plan to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year. 

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