Vice President Leni Robredo and other concerned groups joined calls yesterday for President Duterte to disregard possible nationwide declaration of martial law.
Photo from Philstar
They said there is no reason for Duterte to do so.
Robredo said she did not oppose the martial law declaration in Mindanao. However, she called on the civilians to be alert and vigilant.
She also reminded the military to ensure that no abuses power and of human rights shall happen under martial law in Mindanao.
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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also relayed the same reminder to the military and the police officers.
The Commission on Human Rights 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 that placing Mindanao under martial law can result to widened scope of abuses under the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, militant groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan stated that Duterte 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.
“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 added.
She supported the efforts of the administration to pacify the violence in Mindanao caused by the Maute terror group.
But she further noted that “there’s no reason to extend the implementation (of martial law) to the Visayas and Luzon.”
Several senators from the Liberal Party that are under VP Robredo, along with other groups, also said earlier that they do not see any concrete and justifiable basis to expand the coverage of martial law.
Under the Constitution, the President may only declare martial law when public safety requires it in cases of invasion or rebellion. The effectivity of the declaration can only last for 60 days. It must also be subject to review by Congress and the Supreme Court.
The Vice President reminded the members of Congress to perform their constitutional duty in reviewing and deciding whether the martial law declaration in Mindanao is valid.
VP Robredo Questions Duterte’s ML Report
Robredo raised questions regarding the President’s report on the basis of his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“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 added.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s office is currently focused on providing relief operations for people affected by the ongoing firefight between government troops and Maute militants.
VP Robredo added that the Office of the Vice President, in partnership with private sectors, has set up a command center at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City where people can go in case they need anything.