Cebu leaders express mix reactions on declaration of martial law in Mindanao
Not everyone in Cebu agreed with President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to declare martial law in Mindanao.
For Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, he fully supports the decision of President Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law if only to contain the terror attacks in Marawi.
“The constitution authorizes the president to impose martial law for a certain period of time, and subject to certain requirements,” he said in a press conference at the Governor’s Office on Wednesday.
Davide said expressed hopes that Cebu will be completely safe from terrorists.
“The terror attack in Marawi is scary. It’s just so sad. I hope that will not happen in Cebu,” he said.
“General Taliño assured us that Cebu and Bohol are safe. But as I always emphasized, we cannot let our guard down. We have to be watchful all the time. We cannot afford to be complacent in this trying times,” he added.
Malo Manonggiring, director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in Central Visayas, shared Gov. Davide’s stand adding he was surprised and saddened by the terror attack in Marawi.
“I did not see it coming. I am really shocked. Innocent people have to suffer by people who claim to be Muslims but do not act like one. They are destroying our country,” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.
Manonggiring promised to help authorities to prevent terrorists from entering Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas.
“What happened in Marawi should not happen in Cebu. And I believe they will have difficult time coming here because of the intense security measures being implemented,” he said.
“We just have to be alert at all times. Let us be careful,” he added.
Manonggiring said he welcomed the move of President Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.
“That is good in order to address the problem. I don’t think the president will allow abuses to happen while the martial law is in effect,” he said.
But veteran lawyer Democrito Barcenas believed President Duterte has another agenda in declaring martial law.
“In imposing martial law in Mindanao, President Duterte is testing the political waters. He is testing the reaction of the public. He is testing the loyalty of the military, the police, the senators, and congressmen. And if the issue reaches the Supreme Court, he wants to test the loyalty of the justices,” he told CDN.
“If the tests proved to be reliable, he will find a pretext to place the entire country under martial law. The tension is confined in Marawi. There was no need for him to place place all of Mindanao under martial law,” he added.
Barcenas said the declaration of martial law is a gradual transistion to authoritarian rule.
“This is a dangerous track we are treading. I hope people will try to anaylze the situation. It’s as if the government is playing with fire here. President Duterte is following the footsteps of his favorite dictator (the late President Ferdinand Marcos) who he allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani),” he said.
Failure to curb lawlesness, Barcenas said, is not an excuse to declare martial law.
“In reality, he (President Duterte) cannot solve all the problems like poverty, rebellion, and lawlessness. What is happening now is a prelude to declaring martial law in the entire country which is very dangerous,” he said.
Retired Judge Meinrado Paredes said there is no compelling reason to declare martial law in Visayas and Luzon.
“There is no state of rebellion or invasion in the Visayas and Luzon regions. Also, public safety does not require it (martial law). Maybe, it can be imposed in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi, but not in Visayas and Luzon,” he told CDN.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called on the people to pray for peace in Marawi and the entire country.
“The Church has was already burned, and if you still kidnap people, it makes the whole thing even worse. May people be enlightened, and may there be a chance of heart,” he said in an interview over TV Patrol Central Visayas./with reports from April Alexis Augustin, Xavier University Intern
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